Cyclists raise over 105,000 for Yorkshire's Helicopter Heroes

A group of cyclists have raised more than £105,000 for the charity that saved the life of their friend.

Nearly four years ago a training ride turned into a traumatic rescue after one cyclist was left fighting for his life with serious head injuries after he crashed into a wall.

Yorkshire Air Ambulance (YAA) paramedics were dispatched to the rural location near Harrogate and flew the badly injured man to Leeds General Infirmary within minutes – a journey that could have taken well over an hour by road.

Close friend Mike Rimmer from Otley said: “To this day it’s a mystery how the accident happened but what we do know is that the Air Ambulance saved our friend’s life and we wanted to do something to say thank-you.”

That ‘something’ was a pledge to raise £108,000 for the YAA – what it cost at that time to keep the rapid response emergency charity flying for a month.

In September 2012, Mike and a group of friends cycled across the Pyrenees in just five days – from the Atlantic to the Mediterranean coast. The truly epic 700km bike ride involved 12,000m of ascent and raised over £80,000 for the YAA.

He received a special supporter’s award for his super cycling fundraising team at the charity’s annual Recognition Awards in 2013. Kerry Garner, YAA Regional Fundraiser, said: “Mike organised ‘The Big Bike Ride’ across the Pyrenees which brought in over £80,000 – the most a single event has ever raised for us.

“He and his team are a true inspiration – doing all this for a friend we know is still recovering from what was an horrific accident. We cannot thank them enough.”

And, in September last year Mike and friends Fraser Malcolm, Drew Kirk, Rick Bourne and Matt Eaglan completed a second major endurance ride.

The big-hearted team cycled 1,000km around Corsica in just six days raising a further £25,299 for the Yorkshire Air Ambulance.

The 47-year-old, who runs a Lincolnshire-based vegetable processing business, said: “We’d obviously like to thank all our sponsors and those who donated to this great cause – in particular Kerry foods, Arla Foods and QV Foods.

“The Yorkshire Air Ambulance is a really professional, well run charity providing a vital service. We all hope never to need them but take comfort from knowing they are there.”

Mike and his team are still £3,000 short of their target and anyone who wants to donate can still do so at or directly through the YAA at

The YAA is an independent charity providing a rapid response emergency service to five million people across Yorkshire – England’s largest region. It now needs to raise £9,900 each day to keep its two helicopters flying.

Without any direct government funding, the only help the charity receives is through the secondment of its paramedics from the Yorkshire Ambulance Service NHS Trust.