Paramedic raises nearly £14,000 for GNAAS from hill climb event

A paramedic has helped raise nearly £14,000 from an annual hill climb event which supports the air ambulance service that saved his life.

Jack Talbot, 30, from Ulverston, organises a cycling hill climb event on The Struggle, near Ambleside with all the proceeds of the entry fee going to the Great North Air Ambulance Service (GNAAS) who flew to his aid six years ago.

This was the fourth year of the event, aptly called The Struggle Hill Climb, but this was the first time it hosted the RTTC National Hill Climb Championships.

Jack said: “The Struggle Hill Climb has become an iconic fixture in the UK’s hill climb calendar already and I am honoured that we were selected to host the Nationals in only our fourth year, but the most important aspect for me is that the added entries and attention allowed us to raise vastly more funds for GNAAS.”

In July 2017 Jack was cycling in Ulverston when he was involved in a hit-and-run incident with a car.

Jack was in a critical condition and sustained a serious brain injury, a T7 spinal fracture, a broken shoulder blade, rib fractures and a collapsed lung.

His colleagues from North West Ambulance Service worked alongside a doctor and paramedic team from GNAAS to treat him on the roadside.

He was put into a medically induced coma on scene by GNAAS’ team before being airlifted to Royal Preston Hospital.

Jack remained in an induced coma for 13 days and stayed in hospital for five weeks before making a great recovery.

He’s since reunited with the doctor and paramedic from GNAAS who treated him and has carried out several cycling events which have raised thousands of pounds for the charity.

This year’s The Struggle Hill Climb took place on 29 October from Ambleside to the Kirkstone Pass Inn at the top of The Struggle, with riders setting off from Ambleside at 30 second intervals from 9.01am.

The 2.67-mile-long course features three savage pitches of over 20% gradients and includes a total of 1,175ft of ascent.

450 riders took part in the event, including Geoff Pickin, who conquered the course on his hand cycle, and it was won by Illi Gardner and Andrew Feather, who set new course records.

Following the event, Jack posted a statement on the event’s Facebook page, praising everyone involved.

He said: “I’m still utterly speechless at the madness of Sunday’s National Champs, I don’t even know where to begin.

“I could talk about the incredible performance of every single rider. I’d have to write about the selfless work of everyone involved who made the event happen. I couldn’t miss talking about the tour-like crowds, lining this Cumbrian fellside to support the riders.

“I might mention the epic scenes currently flooding social media from our time on the mountain. I would absolutely have to thank Toby, bringer of all things noise and mayhem to the day.”

Staff and volunteers from GNAAS helped out on the day and were amongst the crowd cheering the riders on at the finish line.

Hannah Powell, fundraising lead at GNAAS, said: “Well done to everybody who took part. We’ve had an amazing team here helping us, including some fantastic volunteers. Thank you so much to Jack for organising the event, you’re an absolute legend, and we’ll hopefully see everyone again this time next year.”

Money is still coming in from the event, but the amount raised so far is enough to cover the cost of more than three missions by GNAAS.

Jack said: “I wanted to create an inclusive event that would raise money year on year. This year, together, we have raised a life-saving amount of money for GNAAS. As it stands, we’re edging close to an incredible £14,000. If this money can go on to save even one life, then all of this effort will be worth it.”

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