A pair of brothers have taken part in Wales’ biggest cycling event to thank the air ambulance that saved their mother.
Phil Kirkwood, 40, and Paul Gordon, 46, completed the Welsh Velothon, an 86-mile cycle ride and raised more than £1300 for the Great North Air Ambulance Service (GNAAS).
Their mother, Ann Kirkwood, 75, suffered a heart attack at her home in Eals, near Haltwhistle, Northumberland, in June last year.
A rapid response team arrived and quickly established her condition. GNAAS then flew to the scene.
Phil, from Guilford, Surrey, said: “Within a very short space of time, a helicopter landed opposite her home and quickly whisked her away to hospital.
“Thanks to their fast response she is still with us today. Without them it could have been a very different story.”
Ann was flown to Cumberland Infirmary in Carlisle in 12 minutes.
A year on from the incident, Phil and Paul got on the saddle in their latest charity fundraiser, and honoured their mother, a charity volunteer and former Samaritan herself.
Some 15,000 cyclists joined them on the roads of south-east Wales, with a route that went through Newport, Usk, Blaenavon, Newbridge, Blackwood and Caerphilly.
Paul, from Croydon, suffered a puncture after around 20-minutes into the ride but this didn’t stop their gutsy feat.
Phil said: “The toughest part was the Tumble climb to the mountain’s 512-metre summit. Our legs felt like jelly afterwards.
“Local villages came out to support us and cheered us on.
“I think that countrywide, all air ambulances are fantastic. They are extremely important and are called upon when people need them most. They are able to fly to some of the most remote places and are invaluable.”
Mandy Drake, head of fundraising at GNAAS said: “We are extremely grateful to the brothers for their effort in this challenge. Their vital funds will keep our helicopter up in the air.”