Monday, 14 May 2012

Saddle up for Air Ambulance bike ride, says rescued cyclist

A Lindfield grandmother rescued by Kent, Surrey and Sussex Air Ambulance has appealed for fellow cyclists to join a fundraising bike ride in aid of the life-saving charity next month.

Heather Barling, 61, was cycling in the village when she was knocked off her bike in October, 2010, and suffered serious head injuries.

She was given emergency treatment at the road-side by the helicopter’s doctor and paramedic before being flown to Queen’s Hospital in Essex in just 25 minutes – a journey that would have taken twice as long by road.

Heather is still receiving hospital treatment and is unable to ride her bike due to ongoing balance problems but has urged other cyclists to take part in the Air Ambulance’s Double 100 Bike Challenge on June 10th.

She said: “Although I have no memory of my accident apart from a fleeting memory of a man with a kind face who knew my name (a local ambulance team paramedic), I know I owe so much to the Air Ambulance crew and all the medics who looked after me.” 

Her husband John, also a keen cyclist, added: “Were it not for the rapid response of the emergency services and the speedy evacuation by helicopter to the specialist trauma unit in Romford I knew we might have been looking at a different outcome.

“Before the accident I was in the middle of a lifetime’s ambition to cycle to the four extreme points of the compass on mainland Britain and Heather was my support team.”

More than 80 riders joined last year’s inaugural Double 100 and organisers are aiming to at least double the number of entries in 2012.

The ride will start and finish at the Surrey and Sussex helicopter base at Dunsfold Park near Horsham – home of BBC’s Top Gear.

Cyclists will set off on either a 100-mile or 100km route which takes in all four counties covered by the Air Ambulance. All entrants must pay a registration fee of £25 and a minimum sponsorship will be required.

To register go to or for more information call Corinne Hitching on 07784 229717.

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