Mountain Challenge

A grateful cyclist has swapped pedals for walking poles to thank Yorkshire Air Ambulance a year to the day after a life-changing accident.

Mike Hudson suffered a spinal crush injury when he crashed into the back of a van less than a mile from his Harrogate home, after a day’s cycling in the Yorkshire Dales.

“I don’t really remember anything about the accident, but understand I basically head butted the back of the van which crushed my spinal cord,” said the 55-year-old.

“I came around about 10 or 15 minutes later and was surrounded by medics, police and my family. I was just laid on the ground and couldn’t move, which was pretty scary, and when I heard the air ambulance land I knew I’d done some serious damage.”

Mike, a surveyor with the National Grid in Leeds, was airlifted in minutes to specialists at Leeds General Infirmary for treatment.

The experienced cyclist and time triallist has recovered well, although has been left with muscle weakness. He added: “I know I’ve been very lucky. I was only doing about 10mph and I was also able to get the medical attention I needed very quickly thanks to the air ambulance. It could have been a lot worse.”

To mark the one year anniversary of his accident Mike joined a group of family and friends to climb the 950m Lake District mountain Helvellyn, the third highest peak in England.

The mountain challenge is set to raise around £2,000 for Yorkshire Air Ambulance, the rapid response emergency charity that serves 5million people across the region, flying over 1,250 missions every year.

Mike, a father of three, added: “It was quite a challenge because I can trip over things more readily now as my feet don’t pick up, but it was a great day.

“When I realised how much the air ambulance need to raise each year to keep on providing what is a vital service in Yorkshire, I wanted to do something to help pay my fare!

“When you talk to people it is surprising to find just how many have either been helped by Yorkshire Air Ambulance or know someone who has benefitted. It is a brilliant service and charity.”

Yorkshire Air Ambulance needs to raise £12,000 every day to keep flying and has just replaced its two, ageing aircraft with brand new, state-of-the-art Airbus H145 helicopters.