Photo: The KSS Wheelers pictured this morning at the start of their bike ride from East Grinstead to Edinburgh
A group of surgeons set off this morning (Thursday) on a 520-mile charity bike ride to their annual conference in Scotland, in aid of Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance.
The team of 12 cyclists started their epic ride at the Queen Victoria Hospital in East Grinstead in a bid to raise £10,000 for the life-saving helicopter which relies almost entirely on donations.
They aim to complete the trip in six days before joining 500 delegates at the three-day British Association of Maxillofacial Surgeons conference in Edinburgh.
The KSS Wheelers are mostly maxillofacial surgeons based at the Queen Victoria and the Royal Surrey County Hospital at Guildford, led by consultant Jeremy Collyer.
Speaking today, Jeremy said: “There’s nothing like working in a hospital to realise how important the work of the air ambulance is, and the trauma care it provides.
“Today is the start of a big day for us, I’m feeling pretty good about the ride but it’s how we feel at the finish that is really going to count.”
Jeremy has been joined on the ride by Paul and Karen Johnson, Ken Sneddon, Paul Norris, Matt Willcocks, Murray Pratt, Ben Gurney, James Sloane, Helen Newman, Nick Leakey and Nikkie Garnham.
Nikkie’s brother-in-law was flown to hospital by the Air Ambulance following a road traffic collision in 2008 and her father Alec is a volunteer for the charity which needs £6million a year to keep both helicopters flying.
Nikkie, a sales consultant at a medical device company, said: “I’m a little anxious at the moment but really excited.
“I’ve done a lot of training and I just hope it all comes together for the next six days. I’m going to have to stand at a stand for three days when I get there so it’s going to be difficult.
“The training has been relentless and every spare moment has been spent on the bike at weekends, pretty much back to back.
“The air ambulance is a cause very close to my heart for personal reasons. My brother-in-law was saved by the air ambulance and if it wasn’t for them, he would not be here today.”
The KSS Wheelers have so far raised £3,709 of their £10,000 target, and can be sponsored at