Big Chilly Willy: Over 800 bikers turn up for air ambulance ride out

Chilly willy bikes parked
Chilly willy bikes parked

Over 800 bikers braved the January cold to take part in a charity ride out to raise thousands for the local air ambulance charity.

The tenth annual Chilly Willy took place on Sunday, 7 January and saw a total of 823 riders on all types of bikes assemble at a new starting point at The Waterside Café, Northampton.

From there, the group rode en masse to Bromham, Bedford on the A428, back to Chicheley Village on the A422, up through Olney on the A509, before back to the café on the A428 – a route of around 35 miles.

Chilly willy rider coversation

Over £6600 was raised on the day with donations since boosting the figure towards £10,000. During its 11 years (the run was cancelled in 2021 due to Covid) the growing event has raised almost £35,000 for The Air Ambulance Service, who cover Derbyshire, Leicestershire, Rutland, Warwickshire, and Northamptonshire.

There are now plans to grow the event even further for 2025, with Organiser David Purvey telling MCN: “To be honest it was the best one yet”.

“We chose the new venue, The Waterside Café, which proved very, very successful, we’re even talking about things we can do next year to make it even more successful, trade stands, branded gear, a few more toilets!”

Chilly Willy aerial image

He continued: “We had 823 on the ride, but a few turned up just for the occasion, so we were probably 840 to 900 altogether. The marshals did a fabulous job”.

“We did a rider briefing advising people of dos and don’ts, did a couple of shout-outs for those that had come the furthest – a couple had come from Norfolk”.

“We modified the route slightly, we had lots of crowds waving us by, we got the Mayor of Olney on board, which was really good, and then we had an ‘after-ride’ catch-up with a presentation of the cheque,” the organiser added.

Chilly willy crowd

“ITV local news was there, local radio was there, we’ve had a lot of positive and supportive comments via Facebook and we’ve increased donations nearly 10-fold over the years”.

For more, go to the event’s Facebook page now.