AIRCREW for Wiltshire Air Ambulance have successfully completed their virtual cycling challenge to raise funds for vital lifesaving equipment.

Pilots and paramedics from the charity planned on cycling 654 miles virtually during a seven-day period, the equivalent of pedalling to ten local hospitals twice.

In the end, they cycled almost double that figure, a total of 1,191 miles, by the end of Valentine’s Day – all for the charity they love.

The Love Your Air Ambulance Challenge helped to raise more than £7,200 to fund the purchase of a MEQU M Warmer unit and accessories.

The equipment can be used in emergencies to ensure injured patients receive the blood products carried by the crew at the required temperature quickly.

Critical care paramedic and ground base manager Richard Miller says: “It’s been a great challenge for everyone in the aircrew to be part of and we’re absolutely delighted with the final outcome."

“Not only did we smash the target we set for the number of miles we wanted to cycle, the funds raised has also exceeded all expectations and we can’t thank everyone who has donated enough for their kind generosity.

“We’ll now be able to purchase the portable blood and fluid warmers, along with all the associated accessories needed and some spares, to further enhance our service.”

Highlights from the virtual cycle challenge included critical care paramedic Sophie Holt completing 150 miles across the week, fellow paramedic Paul Rock getting his family involved in the challenge at home, and chief pilot Matt Wilcock and CCP Craig Wilkins completing rides in their flight suits.

Critical care paramedic James Hubbard even managed to rack up some miles in a full PPE suit – hot and sweaty work indeed.

The charity’s trustee Mike Fellows registered 28 miles, while Wiltshire Air Ambulance ambassador Lauren Booth was cycling throughout the week. The British Champion Para-cyclist even managed 100 miles without stopping at the end of the challenge, raising an additional £776 for the funds.

Wiltshire Air Ambulance has thanked Places Leisure, operators of the Olympiad Leisure Centre in Chippenham, for donating the exercise bikes for the challenge.