A motorcycle group have taken their fundraising total to nearly £30,000 in aid of the Great North Air Ambulance Service (GNAAS).
The Lanchester Centurions Motorcycle Club meet at the Black Bull in Lanchester, County Durham, every week, and its twenty members have supported GNAAS for seven years.
The group’s main fundraiser is the Ben Hur Rally held at Newbiggin Farm in Lanchester, which brings together hundreds of bikers, from across the region, in aid of the charity. The camping event features live music and bike shows over two days.
Group member, John Bennington, from Cassop, Durham, was airlifted by the air ambulance between Devil’s Bridge at Kirkby Lonsdale and Hawes after a motorbike accident in 2003.
Mr Bennington, 58, said: “There was a lot of lose grit on the road and I lost the back end of the motorbike on a corner which sent me into a ditch and up against a drystone wall.”
He sustained a broken collar bone, broken ribs and dislocated shoulder. The GNAAS trauma team were tasked to the scene and treated his injuries before flying him to James Cook University Hospital where he spent five days.
Mr Bennington said: “I cannot commend the team highly enough. They took control of the situation right away and made me feel so at ease. The pilot and medic joked with me throughout the journey and it took my mind off the pain. They were just brilliant.”
Jim Kane, club secretary at Lanchester Centurions, said: “Bikers support GNAAS because we know they provide us with an essential lifeline. John is testament to their incredible treatment.”
As well as the Ben Hur Rally, the group hold bucket collections, raffles and challenges throughout the year to gather even more funds for GNAAS who need to raise £4m every year to operate.
Robert Colgrave, of GNAAS, said: “The group have been been stalwart supporters of the air ambulance over the years and we are so thankful for their continued fundraising. We could not do without their hard work to keep our helicopters airborne.”