Cyclists raise £12,000 for air ambulance

Eighty cyclists helped raise more than £12,000 for the Kent, Surrey and Sussex Air Ambulance by taking part in the charity’s first-ever Double 100 Bike Challenge.

Chief Pilot, Captain Steve Wood, and critical care paramedics Justin Carding and Stu Plumbley were among the riders who completed the ride starting and finishing at the helicopter base.

They were joined by former patients Jim Gilbourne and Darren Cooper who were both airlifted to hospital following separate road traffic collisions three years ago.

The 100-mile route took in all four counties covered by the Air Ambulance – Kent, Surrey and East and West Sussex.

The first riders back were Anthony Williams and Simon Nocton, from Plaxtol, Kent, who completed the alternative 100km route in just over three-and-a-half hours.

The oldest competitor was 75-year-old Eric Clarke, from Wisborough Green, who crossed the finish line on the 100-mile route in nine hours.

Air Ambulance Chief Executive Adrian Bell was at the start line to wish the riders well as they set off from Dunsfold Park and thank them for their support.

The first stop was at Charlwood Village Hall after which the route split at Copthorne where the 100km riders pedalled to Turners Hill.

The 100-mile riders headed around a route that took them past Lingfield Racecourse and on to Langton Green near Tunbridge Wells before heading back via Hartfield.

At Turners Hill, they re-joined the other cyclists for the final 25 miles back to Dunsfold through Southwater and Billingshurst.

Radio 2’s Sally Traffic welcomed the riders back for a well-deserved barbecue with their family and friends who were allowed to cycle around the nearby Top Gear track.

Air Ambulance Initiative Development Fundraiser Corinne Hitching said: “It was a fantastic first challenge event that we organised and I would like to thank everyone who took part.

“We hope this will become an annual fundraising event and more cyclists will join us next year.”

Kent, Surrey and Sussex Air Ambulance would like to thank sponsors Halfords, Sussex Transport, Southern Water, Allguard Alarms, MI Print, Power Bars, Sainsbury’s,Tesco, Morrisons and Asda.

The Double 100, on July 3, was also supported by a volunteer group of Unity Support Riders who toured the circuit on motorbikes to support riders and offer first aid.