Ride out to help out: Thames Valley Air Ambulance look to bikers to help raise annual £10m funding

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Thames Valley Air Ambulance are calling upon motorcyclists to help keep their emergency helicopter in the sky by paying a donation and going for a ride. What could be simpler? The initiative is being called the ‘Motorbike Ride-Out’ and will begin in February.

The group want riders to either pick a set route or make up their own across Berkshire, Oxfordshire, and Buckinghamshire – paying a suggested donation of £10 and sharing any photos and highlights with fellow riders online.

“We would like motorcyclists to join our team, so we created an event that was bespoke for them, where they could get together on a day and time that suits them, enjoy a ride and raise money for us,” Chief Executive Officer Amanda McLean told MCN.

Bikers riding together on the road in the UK

“Just as importantly, we hope the rideouts help will raise awareness of Thames Valley Air Ambulance among the biking community.”

Founded in 1999 and now based at RAF Benson, the charity receives no Government funding or National Lottery Grants and must raise over £10million annually to continue to provide life-saving ground and airborne medical support.

“Between April 2021 and March 2022, we attended 85 motorcycle patients,” McLean continued.

Motorcyclists on a group ride out

“Motorcyclists already support by holding a variety of events – music weekends, rideouts, bike nights, cabaret shows, and raffles are just a few examples.

“We also have members of the motorcycle community who volunteer at our clinical training days, playing the role of bystanders or RTC (road traffic collision) patients,” she added.

The Thames Valley service are aiming for the event to become one of their annual flagship activities and are hoping biking groups that take part can raise between £500 and £1000.

Craig Course who was airlifted to hospital following a horror crash

McLean said: “We are entirely funded by donations and support from the community so this event will go directly towards our work, giving everybody in our community the best chance of surviving and recovering from an emergency situation.”

One such rider that knows the vital role Thames Valley play is 34-year-old Craig Course, who was airlifted to John Radcliffe Hospital after a serious accident in 2012 and helped in the consultation process of the new fund-raising scheme.

“I would say that if they hadn’t been there I’m not totally sure if I’d have come out of that scenario alive,” the Aylesbury biker told MCN.

Thames Valley Air Ambulance helicopter and car

The swift work of the Air Ambulance crew also saved one of his legs from amputation and he has now been raising money for the charity for a number of years.

“They’ve just been absolutely lovely people to know. “The people that I’ve met as a result of the outcome, there’s no price that I can put on that.”

If you’d like to donate or find out more then head to the Thames Valley Air Ambulance website.