The second annual Air Ambulance NI Cycle Sportive 2018 will take place on Sunday 13th May 2018 starting at the North West Paddocks hosted by Causeway Cycling Club.
Last year the club was limited to 500 cyclists and 700 spaces will be available this year. All sign ons must be by entry central which you can click on below :
The Causeway Club hope to raise over £10,000 this year.
With annual running costs of £2 million and no government funding the Air Ambulance will be relying on the generosity of local people to help fund this service.
Knowing all too well how important an Air Ambulance can be, Violet McAfee who was hit by a motorbike while watching the North West 200 in 2015 wanted to do something to help raise funds for this vital service
Violet recalls, “I remember watching the warm up lap in my friend’s garden on the Station Road in Portstewart. The first lap had just got underway when the accident occurred.”
A high speed collision involving three bikes resulted in one of the bikes flying over the garden wall and hitting Violet. Her injuries were so severe that she had to be air lifted by Coastguard helicopter to the Royal Victoria Hospital in Belfast.
Violet admits that “being lifted by helicopter meant that I got lifesaving treatment much quicker than travelling by road in an ambulance, I know that this definitely saved my life.”
When the news broke that there was going to be a dedicated Air Ambulance for Northern Ireland, Violet was delighted.
Violet explains, “I was chatting to colleagues at work one day, saying how much I would love to raise money for the Air Ambulance. We were trying to think of ideas for fundraising events. My friend, Deborah, a keen cyclist and member of the local Causeway Cycle Club, turned to me and said to me “I know the man that you need to speak to” and that’s when she put me in touch with Robert Downes, Chairman of Causeway Cycle Club.”
Violet met with Robert and after an initial conversation agreed to put plans in place to organise a cycle sportive event. The Causeway Cycle Club team started the ball rolling by meeting with Mervyn White, Race Chief of the International North West 200, to get his support and agree the date and use of the NW200 Pits area as the venue for the start and finish of this sportive.
Two years after her accident and still in recovery, Violet says “I really hope that people will get behind this Sportive and support the Air Ambulance NI service. I’m living proof that you really don’t know what could happen to you when you walk out the door.”