Pilots and paramedics to run 24 miles in 24 hours for charity

By Jessica Durston - 22 July 2021


Wiltshire Air Ambulance staff volunteer for gruelling running challenge to raise funds for bloods products used during emergencies.

  • Critical care paramedics Ben Abbott (left) and Sophie Holt alongside Pilot Elvis Costello, alongside Bell 429 helicopter

    Critical care paramedics Ben Abbott (left) and Sophie Holt alongside Pilot Elvis Costello, alongside Bell 429 helicopter

The 24 miles in 24 hours challenge will take place on 30 July, starting at 8am.

Pilot, Elvis Costello, and paramedics Ben Abbott and Sophie Holt aim to raise £7,500 to fund vital bloods products for the rest of the year.

The aircrew will run across Wiltshire and in Bath, areas in which Wiltshire Air Ambulance carries out its service. 

Mr Costello said: “It’s an idea we discussed in the crew room about maybe running a mile every hour at the airbase, but then it just developed from there.“

"We discussed wanting other people to be involved and especially those who have supported our charity in the past and plan to do so in the future. The response we’ve had from local businesses and the public from across Wiltshire and Bath has been tremendous and we can’t thank them enough. We just can’t wait to get going now.”

Wiltshire Air Ambulance says it began carrying packed red blood cells in 2015 and enhanced the blood products with plasma (LyoPlas) in 2019. The red blood cells help carry oxygen around the body and replace blood lost by patients, with the LyoPlas (freeze dried in powder form) containing essential clotting factors to stop bleeding.

The pilot and paramedic team plan to run a mile every hour and their route will take them past landmarks such as Stonehenge, Castle Coombe race circuit, Longleat Centre Parcs, Longleat House, Bowood House and Bath Rugby grounds. 

The run will incorporate local businesses who support Wiltshire Air Ambulance, including Swindon Town Football Club, Wichelstowe's Hall & Woodhouse pub, Qinetiq at Boscombe Down, Octavian Wines in Corsham, Salisbury Racecourse and Melksham's, The Milk Churn.

The crew have also seen support from Rygor Commercials, who have loaned them a minivan for the duration of the challenge, with Asda at Melksham providing some food and refreshments to keep them going.

Sophie Holt said: “Being able to administer blood products to a patient in the community can mean the difference between them surviving their journey to hospital or not.

“Raising money during this challenge really will allow us to continue to provide this lifesaving treatment to the ever-increasing number of time critical patients we see.”

Earlier in the year, the Wiltshire Air Ambulance team cycled 1,191 miles over seven days in order to raise £7,800 for a MEQU °M Blood Warmer and its accessories.

The team said those blood warmer units are being used more than ever, with usage of blood products going up 66% this year in comparison to 2020 figures. 

Donations can be made at https://justgiving.com/campaign/WAA24in24

To donate via phone, text BLOOD to 70480 for £10. (Texts cost £10 plus one standard rate message)

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