Dorset and Somerset Air Ambulance is urging the public to support its fourth annual Coast to Coast Cycle Challenge next Sunday.
The event, which is not designed as a race, involves a 54-mile cycle which starts at 11am from Watchet Harbour in Somerset and ends at West Bay near Bridport. A shorter 11-mile route starts at the Royal Oak in Drimpton at 2pm and also finishes at West Bay.
Last year’s event saw cyclists of all ages and abilities take part, raising over £60,000 for the life-saving charity.
Supporters will be able to encourage the cyclists en-route or at one of the four allocated pit-stops located at Bishops Lydeard Football Club, Creech St Michael, Ilminster Ambulance Station and the Royal Oak public house in Drimpton.
Finishing line celebrations will take place at East Beach Car Park in West Bay where cyclists are expected to start arriving from around 2.30pm.
Bill Sivewright, Dorset and Somerset Air Ambulance Chief Executive Officer said, “We are delighted that the only event we organise ourselves is so well supported and it seems to get better year on year. “The atmosphere among the cyclists and those who support them at the start, en-route and at the finishing point is incredible.
“Of those taking part this year, there are many patients who have experienced the work of the Air Ambulance first-hand. “Others are cycling in memory of a loved one or simply want to challenge themselves and support our cause. “One particular family has three generations cycling which is exactly what this event is all about.
“We are thrilled with the number of teams who have entered this year and that many of the cyclists are getting their friends and family to sponsor them in a bid to raise as much as possible.
“I am sure it will be an extremely emotional day all round and we are really looking forward to it.
“We would like to thank our wonderful team of volunteers, members of the public and local businesses who are helping with marshalling and the event sponsors: Bond Air Services, Framptons Transport Services Ltd, Glastonbury Spring Water, Max Davidson Optometry, Porter Dodson, Somerset Web Services and The Bicycle Chain. Without their help, we simply could not put on such a large-scale event.”
One team taking part is the ‘Team o’ Tumblers’ who represent the horse racing, eventing, hunting and farming community.
Their line-up includes the recently retired National Hunt jockey Joe Tizzard, Georgina Nicholls (wife of horse trainer Paul Nicholls), horse trainer Harry Fry, Emma Barber, one of the Blackmore and Sparkford Vale Masters, who was airlifted last year and a whole host of others who have committed to supporting the charity after needing their services on a number of occasions.
As well as sponsorship of the cyclists, the charity has set up two other ways in which donations can be made in support of the event. These can be made online via the charity’s website at dsairambulance.org.uk or by mobile phone by texting: COAS04 £10 to 70070.
More information about the Dorset and Somerset Air Ambulance can be found by visiting: dsairambulance.org.uk or by calling: 01823 669604.