Northern Ireland news

Air Ambulance NI medics cycle 110 miles to help fund four days of the life-saving service

Air Ambulance NI medics have cycled 110 miles to help fund four days of the life-saving service

FROM a Co Fermanagh helipad to one in Belfast, Air Ambulance medics have cycled 110 miles to help fund four days of the life-saving service.

Members of the Helicopter Emergency Medical Service (HEMS) crew swapped their flight suits for cycling shorts and completed an epic challenge of endurance, the 'Helipad to Helipad Cycle Challenge'.

A far cry from the crew's typical day to day duties, the highly skilled doctors and paramedics started from the South Western Acute Hospital in Enniskillen and completed 110 miles over two days, finishing at the helipad at the Royal Victoria Hospital in Belfast.

All novice cyclists, the team took on the challenge to raise vital funds after witnessing the massive impact the pandemic had on the charity's fundraising and subsequent downturn in income.

They raised a phenomenal £21,833, which will fund almost four full days of the service.

Since the inception of the service in July 2017, it has been tasked around 2,500 times.

It can get to anywhere in Northern Ireland in approximately 25 minutes. This year, the service experienced its busiest month to date being called out on 78 occasions during July 2021.

Air Ambulance NI needs to raise £2million each year to maintain this service so public donations are crucial.

Kerry Anderson, head of fundraising at Air Ambulance NI, said: "We are extremely grateful to the HEMS team for what they do for patients every day and now for taking on this challenge to help raise vital funds for the charity.

"Many of the team were completely new to cycling before this so we know it wasn't an be easy task.

"We're very proud of the whole team for completing this terrific and tough challenge and we're extremely humbled by their fundraising success and the support they've received."

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