Media Release: 22nd February 2022

Dorset and Somerset Air Ambulance is delighted to be one the beneficiaries of an incredible cycling event, which is being held in memory of Hugo Yaxley and Helen McCrory OBE.

Following the tragic passing of his much-loved brother and aunt, Thomas Yaxley, 32, has organised a charity cycling event on Sunday 5th June 2022, to raise funds in their memory.

In November 2020, Thomas’s brother, Hugo Yaxley, was involved in a serious road traffic accident in which he tragically lost his life. Just five months after, his aunt, Helen McCrory OBE, also tragically passed away after losing her battle with breast cancer.

Due to the severity of Hugo’s incident, multiple emergency services were deployed to the scene, including the Police, Fire Service, Ambulance Service, Coastguard, Wiltshire Air Ambulance, Hampshire and Isle of Wight Air Ambulance and Dorset and Somerset Air Ambulance.

Hugo was cared for by Dorset and Somerset Air Ambulance who then airlifted him to University Hospital Southampton to receive further treatment. Minna was cared for by Hampshire and Isle of Wight Air Ambulance, who also airlifted her to University Hospital Southampton. Tragically, Hugo died in hospital later that night as a result of his injuries, which were catastrophic. 

In a bid to honour their memory and fantastic charity work, Thomas hopes that his event, ‘The Ride4Hugo Sportive’, will raise a total of £24,000 for four charities close to Hugo and Helen’s hearts, including Dorset and Somerset Air Ambulance, Hampshire and Isle of Wight Air Ambulance, children’s mental health charity Place2Be and HVH Arts.

Ride4Hugo is not designed to be a race and involves cycling through the beautiful Dorset, Wiltshire and Hampshire countryside. The event has three distances to choose from, including ‘The Baby Fondo’ (30km), ‘Fondo’ (60km) and ‘Gran Fondo' (100km). All three routes will start and finish at Henstridge Airfield, on the Dorset/Somerset border.

Those participating in the Gran Fondo will set off at 8.30am, followed by a staggered start for the Fondo and Baby Fondo distances. Several pit-stops will be available along the route, to provide a well-earned rest and refreshments for those that want it.

The event will be a celebratory occasion for all involved, especially as this is taking place during the Queen’s Jubilee weekend.

Speaking about the cycling event, Thomas Yaxley said:

All these charities hold an incredibly special place in our family’s heart for their links with Hugo and Helen. The work they do makes lives better every single day, but this is only possible due to the generosity of the public. We have already raised over £97,000 in their memory, hopefully this event will add to that total and mean these amazing charities can bring their life changing work to even more people.

“Dorset and Somerset Air Ambulance will always hold a very special place in our heart. It is due to their amazing work that Hugo was given a fighting chance and more importantly, that our parents got to say goodbye to him. The follow-on care and support provided by the charity’s patient and family liaison nurses, to help the family deal with this tragic accident has been invaluable.

“This could not be a more fitting event to honour Hugo’s memory; it is doing a sport he loved in a part of the world that was very special to him. With the 60km and 100km feed station at his old prep school, this really is personal. Although Aunty Helen was not known for her cycling, she would have been on the side-line cheering everyone on and certainly been at the finish line to celebrate everyone’s amazing achievements. We hope the day will be one of celebration, with a chance for people to come together, challenge themselves and raise money for a great cause.

Emma Jones, Dorset and Somerset Air Ambulance Fundraising Manager said:

We are honoured to be able to host Ride4Hugo at Henstridge Airfield, where our crew and ‘Peggy’, our helicopter, are based. Working with three other fantastic charities makes this a truly unique event. We are so looking forward to the day and wish to thank Thomas for all that he is doing to make Ride4Hugo the success that it deserves to be.

For more information and to register, visit the Ride4Hugo website:

Entrance fees: Baby Fondo: £26, Fondo: £36 Gran Fondo: £41.