During a week in September 2017, Daren and I rode our motorcycles for two thousand miles to raise awareness of air ambulance charities. Our kind supporters donated over £2700 for North West Air Ambulance Charity (our local air ambulance), and more to other charities around the UK. Our social media feeds reached over 175000 people. We visited 17 air ambulance charities. But we will never really know the true value of that motorcycle ride. Air ambulances save lives; that is a fact. They are funded by private donations and are separate charities. Every donation has the potential to change a life, to increase someone’s chance of survival, to bring a loved one home.
I had no idea that when Daren and I started RoadBase2017, a charity motorcycle ride would receive so much support. The idea was to ride between as many air ambulance charity air bases as we could in a week. Each air ambulance is run as an individual entity, so organising visits to air bases, some on military airfields became a real challenge. In the end, we managed to get permission to visit seventeen charities, most at the bases they operate from.
A real turning point in our endeavour came in the form of a Twitter Message from Tony Carter on behalf of Hudgell Solicitors. They offered their support through sponsorship and gave us access to their marketing department. Many of Tony’s vast array of contacts within the motorcycle industry gave their support and before we knew it we were riding Honda sponsored motorcycles and were dressed in RST protective clothing. Other companies came on board, Visorcat and Realrider sent us their products and spread the word on social media.
The ride itself went without major incident. Riding into the teeth of Storm Aileen in Cornwall and unexpected road closures in Devon showed the strength of the bikes even if it put us a little behind schedule! We received some fantastic hospitality along the way with many of the pilots and engineers being particularly interested in the DCT (automatic) gearbox on the Honda Africa Twin.
The highlight of the trip for me was meeting the crews of the air ambulances and the people who keep the charity operating. We heard first hand from people whose lives had been saved and saw the professionalism of the crews as they left and arrived back from their missions. One evening we were chatting with the crew of the Kent Air Ambulance when the phone went. Within seconds they were on the tarmac heading for the helicopter. The force of the rotor wash as they left the helipad still gives me goose bumps when I think of it.
I feel like we have unfinished business with the concept of a national motorcycle ride in support of air ambulance charities. So watch this space!
We would like to offer our thanks to Honda UK, RST and above all Hudgell Solicitors, without whom our job would have been much harder and our social media reach much shorter.
You can watch a video summary of our trip
It’s never too late to donate to your local air ambulance charity.