Local couple aim high for Wiltshire Air Ambulance

By Nick Batten on 8 February, 2024

Chippenham photographer Nick Cole and his wife Gaynor are aiming to raise over £4,500 this June in aid of Wiltshire Air Ambulance. 

The cycling enthusiasts will embark on a testing cycle challenge of completing the boundary of the county, which is over 300km, in just three days. The route is the equivalent of cycling from London to Leeds and the combined climbs is equivalent to scaling Snowdon twice. 

More used to helping businesses tell a story rather than being the story, commercial photographer Nick has already begun his training with wife Gaynor, who is a Business Manager for Spa Medical Centre in Melksham. The Wiltshire Air Ambulance charity is close to the hearts of Nick and Gaynor who have seen the work the charity does, and the life-changing difference each mission can make. 

Nick said, “Our first aim is to raise £4,500 as this is the cost of a mission for Wiltshire Air Ambulance, the cost to get the helicopter in the air along with the medical team. Wiltshire is a large rural county and the air ambulance really does make the difference, in many cases, it is the difference between life and death.”

The charity challenge will begin on Friday 28th June, starting from the airbase in Semington, then heading north towards Malmesbury, around Swindon with a detour to Swindon’s Great Western Hospital, out towards Marlborough with some challenging climbs and then a stay near the Savernake Forest on the first night. 

Day two covers the eastern part of the county, heading through Tidworth and eventually down to Salisbury with a call into Salisbury District Hospital. The last day sees more climbs around the south-west of the county with some challenging terrain towards Trowbridge and the finish back at the airbase. 

Gaynor said, “For over 30 years, Wiltshire Air Ambulance has provided an invaluable service for those in need of urgent medical care. Working in the health service, I know personally how important and lifesaving Wiltshire Air Ambulance is. I am taking on the challenge to show my support and raise important funds for the charity.”

Each year it costs £4.5 million to run the charity and provide support across Wiltshire, Bath and surrounding areas. Wiltshire Air Ambulance flies over a thousand missions annually, responding to 351 cardiac emergencies and 174 road traffic collisions in 2023. Wiltshire Air Ambulance operates up to 19 hours a day, 365 days a year. 

Naomi Barker, the charity’s Corporate Partnerships Lead, said, “Wiltshire Air Ambulance is thrilled that Nick and Gaynor are undertaking this unique challenge to raise awareness and much-needed funds for us to continue providing vital response for those living in Wiltshire, Bath and surrounding areas. Nick has recently become more involved with the charity, including documenting our Charity Ball, and we’re so thankful for his efforts.” 

Anyone wishing to get involved, cycle some of the route with Nick and Gaynor or make a donation should head to: https://bit.ly/nickcolecharityride

Pictured above: Nick and Gaynor Cole raising funds for Wiltshire Air Ambulance