A man completed a gruelling cycling event in place of his brother, who nearly lost his life preparing for the 112 mile route.
Patrick Evans took part in the Fred Whitton Challenge to raise money for the Great North Air Ambulance Service, the charity he says saved his brother Julian’s life.
Julian Evans, a 45-year-old IT Specialist from Darlington, fell from his bike in snowy conditions after hitting a cattle grid at speed on January 16 this year.
He suffered severe facial and neck injuries in the fall in the remote area of Langdon Beck, in Upper Teesdale. Despite his injuries, he was able to get back up and even managed to raise the alarm at a local pub.
GNAAS was called to the scene to rescue Julian and he was flown to the Royal Victoria Infirmary (RVI), Newcastle, for further treatment. The flight to the RVI took just 13 minutes, by road this would have taken around one hour and 20 minutes.
On arrival at the hospital, Julian’s condition worsened when he suffered a stroke as an after effect of his neck injury.
Patrick, 42, from York, said: “If it wasn’t for the quick response and treatment by the GNAAS crew Julian would have died.”
Before his accident, Julian had signed up to take part in the Fred Whitton cycling event in the Lake District but had to withdraw due to the severity of his condition.
The event requires riders to complete 112 miles of cycling including 4,000m of ascent. Patrick decided to step in and take Julian’s place in the challenge.
Patrick said: “The challenge was a great way to honour my brother and raise money for the air ambulance charity that essentially saved his life.
“My target was to raise £500 but I reached that very quickly so I upped it to £1,000 and the target was again met quickly.
“It was a fantastic challenge to take part in and I got an excellent response with people still handing me money to the day.”
Patrick has so far raised £3,350 for the charity that is wholly dependent on public donations and needs to raise £4.5 million each year to stay operational.
He visited the GNAAS Durham Tees Valley Airport airbase recently with Julian’s children and wife, Jayne Evans, to hand over a cheque from the fundraising.
Mrs Evans, 42, said: “I can’t thank the GNAAS team enough, it would have definitely been a different outcome if you weren’t at hand.
“His recovery has been tough and tiring like a rollercoaster, but he is getting better and his mood is positive.
“He is due to be discharged from Walkergate Park rehabilitation centre in September and the physio has had him up standing.”