Monday, 14 October 2013

Bike polo day hits high notes for Air Ambulance

James Blunt presented the prizes at an annual bicycle polo event which has so far raised almost £5,000 for life-saving charity Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance.

The singer, whose single Bonfire Heart is currently at Number 6 in the UK chart, watched as eight teams battled it out in the round-robin tournament at Sopers Farm in Ashurst.

He then handed out the medals to the winners before appearing on stage at BBC Radio 2 Live in Hyde Park the next day.

Photo L-R:: James Blunt pictured with winning Red Tigers team Harry Lloyd Owen, Keld Van Schreven, Zul Junas, Rupert Lewis, and Emily Harrison

The event was organised by James’ sister Emily Harrison after her husband Guy was airlifted to hospital following a quad bike accident just five days before she was due to give birth to their first child.

Photo L-R:  Guy Harrison, Air Ambulance Sussex County Board chairman David Bowden and Emily Harrison.

Guy, a businessman and Fathers4Justice activist best known for hurling purple powder at Tony Blair in the House of Commons, was flown to the Royal Sussex at Brighton with broken ribs but has since made a full recovery.

He said “The bike polo was a brilliant, low-key day which involved enthusiastic players on poor quality bikes charging up and down a grass pitch.

“While everyone drank Firebird Heritage Beer and ate Sussex Charmer Cheese-on-Toast, my main concern was that no-one got injured and ruined our fundraising efforts by requiring an air ambulance!

“The day also included fixed-wing aerobatics and model helicopter displays and ended with fire-juggling and a moon-lit disco. We had a great day and Emily and I are extremely grateful to everyone for their support and participation.”

Photo: Guy receiving treatment from SECAmb critical care paramedic Keith Foord at the scene of his accident in August, 2010.

Ambulance Sussex county board chairman David Bowden gave a talk to spectators about the charity at last month’s bike polo day and his son Mark was among the players and a losing finalist.

Photo L-R: Bike polo players Kevin Shaw and Stuart Allison in action

Each call-out of the helicopter costs about £2,500 so the fantastic sum of £4,946 raised from this and last year’s inaugural event will fund two potentially life-saving missions.

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