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Cardiff to Tenby cycle race funds lifesaving helicopter missions across Wales

A Welsh cycling event has funded several emergency helicopter missions across Wales, raising donations by cycling 100 miles from the capital city of Cardiff to the beach resort of Tenby.

The organisers of the Carten100 cycle race presented the crew of Wales Air Ambulance with a lifesaving donation on July 18, raised through the annual bike event.

The Carten100 draws in thousands of novice and experienced cyclists every year, to raise thousands for charities through the gruelling cycling challenge.

The race started in 2004 with four riders and has grown into a date on the calendar for thousands, with 1,700 cyclists taking part in the 2015 challenge.

Over the 13 years since the Carten100’s conception the event has raised around £700,000 for various charities, through corporate sponsors and cyclists collecting sponsorships to take part.

Organisers of the Carten100 donated £4,000 to Wales Air Ambulance, helping the Welsh helicopter charity to raise the £6.5million needed every year to fund its missions across Wales.

The donation from the annual cycling event will fund more than one of the charity’s missions across Wales, with each of Wales Air Ambulance costing around £1,500, funded by the kind donations the charity receives.

Mark Stevens, Wales Air Ambulance Fundraising Manager, said: “As a charity, we rely on support to keep our four helicopters flying.

“Much like the Carten100, we started off small and grew over the years. Wales Air Ambulance launched as a single-helicopter service operating from Swansea airport 5 days a week on St David’s Day in 2001, and we have been able to grow into a four-helicopter operation, serving the people of Wales 365 days a year.

“Now, thanks to the outstanding support we receive, we are continuing to develop and are work towards our goal of being a 24-hour service.

“We have only been able to grow and develop due to the support we receive from volunteers, fundraisers and fundraising events.

“The kind donation from the Carten100 will help us to continue flying across Wales, bringing the A&E department to the patient to give them lifesaving medical interventions before airlifting them to the care they need as soon as possible.”

In July, the organisers of the famous Carten100 race met with Wales Air Ambulance pilots, James Grenfell and Jay Curtis, presenting them with the lifesaving donation.

The Carten100 team visited the crew at the charity’s airbase in Cardiff, and were given a tour of the charity’s fourth aircraft which is the dedicated Children’s Wales Air Ambulance; completing emergency inter-hospital transfers for neonates, babies, children and adults across the country, to take them to the care they need.

Mark said: “The Carten100 event takes cyclists on a challenging ride across the Welsh countryside over a ten-hour period.

“The diverse landscape of Wales, which the Carten100 cyclists face during the event, is something we are all too familiar with. As Wales has over 8,000sq miles of remote countryside, bustling towns and cities, vast mountain ranges, and 800 miles of coastline, which we tackle every day to come to the aid of people across Wales.

“By using our advanced aircraft, we can reach patients as quickly as possible – completing the journey from the bustling city of Cardiff to the seaside resort of Tenby in just half an hour.

“We are only able to keep our four helicopters flying through the support we receive from the people of Wales, and we would like to say a huge thank you to the Carten100 team for their lifesaving donation.”

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