Air Ambulance medics saddle up for 110-mile charity cycle

A team of medics are taking on a gruelling cycle ride to raise funds for the Air Ambulance NI charity.

[Aug. 27, 2020: Claire Williamson]

A team of medics are taking on a gruelling cycle ride to raise funds for the Air Ambulance NI charity.

The group will be doing a 'Helipad to Helipad' challenge, riding 110 miles over two days.

They will start from the helipad at the South Western Area Hospital and finish at the helipad at Belfast's Royal Victoria Hospital.

Doctors Stuart Lutton, Andrew Topping, Alan Laverty and Rory Maguire from the Belfast Health and Social Care Trust make up part of the team of 13 Helicopter Emergency Medical Service (HEMS) crew members who will take on the challenge in October.

Dr. Maguire, a HEMS consultant and anaesthetist at Belfast City Hospital, said: "Our team are very aware of the impact of Covid-19 at the front line, in our community and the impact on Air Ambulance NI income.

"I have some experience in cycling, but this will be a completely different challenge as 13 of our team come together in a 110-mile physical challenge instead of our usual HEMS roles.

"Please get behind our team and support it with a donation on our justgiving page, and thank you so much for your support."

The challenge, which starts in Enniskillen on Friday, October 2 and finishes in Belfast the next day, is a far cry from the crew's typical day to day duties.

While on shift for HEMS the team is usually scrambled on average at least once or twice a day to major trauma incidents.

The highly-skilled doctors and paramedics are trained to perform lifesaving procedures at the scene of accidents and emergencies.

Since the inception of the service in July 2017 the crew has been tasked more than 1,400 times.

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 in taking on this challenge to help raise vital funds for the charity.

"Many of the team are taking on cycling for the first time, so we know this won't be easy and we wish them every success over the coming weeks and months."

Air Ambulance NI, in partnership with the Ambulance Service, provides HEMS.

It operates seven days a week, 12 hours a day, and can get to anywhere in Northern Ireland in approximately 25 minutes.

The HEMS team attends to patients who are seriously ill or injured, bringing emergency pre-hospital care direct to the casualty.

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

This Brighter Side of News post courtesy of The Belfast Telegraph at

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Want to Learn More?

To support the Helipad to Helipad Cycle Challenge 2020 you can donate and follow the team's progress through its justgiving page at:

Joseph Shavit
Joseph ShavitSpace, Technology and Medical News Writer
Joseph Shavit is the head science news writer with a passion for communicating complex scientific discoveries to a broad audience. With a strong background in both science, business, product management, media leadership and entrepreneurship, Joseph possesses the unique ability to bridge the gap between business and technology, making intricate scientific concepts accessible and engaging to readers of all backgrounds.