Coast to Coast 2015 Prize Winners Presentation

January 18, 2016 by Lara Lucas
Pictured:  Left to right: Chris Norris (Over 16), Emilie Gordon and Charles Richardson (Team o Tumblers), Amelia Fleming (Under 16), Bill Sivewright (DSAA, Chief Executive Officer)

Pictured: Left to right: Chris Norris (Over 16), Emilie Gordon and Charles Richardson (Team o Tumblers), Amelia Fleming (Under 16), Bill Sivewright (DSAA, Chief Executive Officer)

We were delighted to welcome the 2015 Coast to Coast Cycle Challenge prize winners to our airbase on Saturday to present them with their fundraising trophies.

Last year’s event saw a total of 553 cyclists take to the road, raising over £64,000 for the Charity.  It was a wonderful day with so many stories of courage and determination.

Prizes are awarded annually to those who raise the most in sponsorship in three different categories; Over 16, Under 16 and Team.

Chris Norris, aged 66 from Evercreech, took part for the second year running completing the 54 mile route. Chris’s son Sam Norris, tragically lost his life in a road traffic incident in 2009. Chris had taken part the previous year to prove to himself that he could do it, however in 2015 he wanted to try and raise as much in sponsorship as possible.  He encouraged his friends and family to support him and raised a whopping £1,949.38

Chris explained: “By far, the best bit is the feeling of achievement when you cross the finish line knowing that you have raised money for such a vital service.  The fish and chips at West Bay were definitely a highlight too.  The hardest part of the challenge for me was when I started training.  I seriously wondered if I would be able to manage the hills, but I did.”

Amelia Fleming, aged 12 from Maiden Newton, cycled the 11 mile route from Drimpton to West Bay.  Her mum Rechenda, knew of a lady who was taken to hospital by air ambulance after a riding accident which was one of the main reasons that they both took part.  Amelia set up a JustGiving page before sending an email to all her friends and family asking for their support.  Her godfather who lives in London was particularly generous and really kick started her fundraising.

Rechenda commented on her daughter’s achievement and said: “It was amazing.  The finish line at West Bay was full of supporters cheering and clapping, the atmosphere was brilliant and we loved getting a medal and goody bag too!  The 11 mile route was really not too difficult and only took us an hour.  Amelia raised £227.50 which we are really proud of and we would definitely like to be involved with other fundraising events for Dorset and Somerset Air Ambulance in the future.”

Team o Tumblers, once again came out in force.  It’s not hard to spot this group of hunting and equine enthusiasts who take part as a team.  Thirty six members who are totally united in supporting Dorset and Somerset Air Ambulance wore branded shirts and challenged themselves over the 54 mile route for the second year.  In total, they raised a staggering £19,601.90 and together cycled a total of 1,994 miles!

Each member has their own reason for wanting to take part and most have an incredible story to tell.  Unitedly, they cheer each other as each one crosses the finish line which creates a buzz to the already electric atmosphere.

Spokesperson Rupert Rees said: “The comradery between the team is great.  The event enables the group to do something different outside of our everyday lives and raise money for a cause that is extremely close to our hearts.

“Individually we set a target of raising £100 per member which seems quite a low ask.  As you can see by how much we raised last year, everyone far exceeded that.  This is because the cause is so important to us.  Many of us know someone who has needed the air ambulance or indeed might need them in future.  This is our way of saying thanks and showing our support.  It’s a jolly good day out in aid of a charity that we love.  It’s just got to be done!”