Cycling for ambulance

Heerema coast to coast cycle ride team before they set off from Greenland Road.'From left to right: Dave Scrafton (support driver), Paul Greenan, Kenny Parker, Craig Crallan, Nick Howe, Mathew Maill, Andrew Ward, Richard Nichol, Neil Hay, Mark Graham, Peter Geddis, Richard Parkes (support driver)

Heerema coast to coast cycle ride team before they set off from Greenland Road.'From left to right: Dave Scrafton (support driver), Paul Greenan, Kenny Parker, Craig Crallan, Nick Howe, Mathew Maill, Andrew Ward, Richard Nichol, Neil Hay, Mark Graham, Peter Geddis, Richard Parkes (support driver)

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WORKERS at a Hartlepool offshore construction yard have been praised after raising almost £7,000 for a life-saving service after getting on their bikes.

A team of 12 staff from Heerema in Hartlepool took part in a 145-mile coast to coast fundraising challenge.

Their efforts raised £6,950.50 for the Great North Air Ambulance, one of the firm’s favourite charities.

The event saw 10 riders saddle up on their bikes and cycle from Whitehaven, in Cumbria, to Roker, in Sunderland, over the weekend of July 15-17.

They were given continuous support along the route from colleagues Dave Scrafton and Richard Parkes in support vehicles.

Members of the team presented the money to the Great North Air Ambulance, which needs to raise £4m a year to continue to operate.

Peter Geddis, who was part of the Heerema team, said: “We did a straw poll of charities people wanted to support.”

Colleague Craig Crallan added: “The air ambulance is one of the local charities we support as part of our day to day work.

“And because it is not Government funded it just seemed the best charity to raise it for.”

He described the ride as a challenge but said everyone enjoyed the experience.

Team member Richard Parkes’ first grandson was born during the weekend of the ride, but made it back in time for breakfast with the team on Sunday morning after seeing the new arrival.

Janet Hume, fundraising manager for the Great North Air Ambulance praised their efforts.

She said: “We need £4m a year to keep the helicopter flying and it all comes from public donations.

“We don’t get any Government or lottery funding so an amount like this is absolutely fantastic.”

The total included a joint £2,900 contribution from Heerema and the Centrica Ensign Project.

The team was made up of workers from Heerema’s Greenland Road and Victoria Dock sites in Hartlepool.

They are Dave Scrafton, Paul Greenan, Kenny Parker, Craig Crallan, Nick Howe, Mathew Maill, Andrew Ward, Richard Nichol, Neil Hay, Mark Graham, Peter Geddis and Richard Parkes.