Ed Griffith

Ed's Dawn to Dusk Challenge

Fundraising for Wales Air Ambulance Charitable Trust
raised of £2,000 target
by 66 supporters
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We provide all-Wales emergency air cover to serve Wales & save lives 365 days a year


As a member of Bridgend MG Owners Club (MGOC), I have taken part in  several of the club’s “Cwm to Coast” annual charity runs over the years in my MGC GT classic car.  One of our main beneficiaries is Wales Air Ambulance (WAA), as we concluded some time ago that anyone might need this essential service at any time. 

Unfortunately, due to the Covid-19 lockdowns, we have been unable to hold the Cwm to Coast run for the last 2 years and as a result, we have been unable to collect for this worthy charity.  Therefore, I accepted a challenge from the club to attempt to visit all 4 WAA helicopter bases in Wales, at Llanelli, Caernarfon, Welshpool and Cardiff, a distance of around 400 miles, between dawn and dusk in one day in order to try to make up for our lack of donations to the charity.  

Whilst this might not sound a lot, between us my car and I add up to 125 years of age, so it was no easy task, either for me or the car!  An added complication was that, post lockdown in Wales, I expected there to be increased traffic on the roads and there was little motorway mileage on the route, so progress could be slow and I would probably need all the time between dawn and dusk to complete the run.  

Due to very poor weather forecasts I postponed the run from 9th September to 15th.  This was lucky, as I fell ill for several days from 9th to 13th. 

I funded all my expenses myself, in order that all donations would go entirely to WAA.  

I set off from home in Penarth at dawn, 0615 hours, and made for Llanelli, arriving there at 0720, where I was met by Laura and Dan.  After a brief chat, and posing for photos with the helicopter and MG, I set off again for Aberaeron, where I met Tim Winton and members of Aberystwyth MGOC, travelling together to the Starling Cloud in Aberystwyth for breakfast.  After a group photo, we then found that the "all-day breakfast" didn't start until noon!  (Shades of Fawlty Towers there, I think!)  So we went to the local Morrisons instead.

Afterwards, I set off for Caernarfon, filling up with petrol on the way to ensure I had enough to traverse mid Wales later.  Arriving at Caernarfon Airport at around 1440, I was met by the team, given a coffee and after a chat with the staff, I had the obligatory photo with Ian Thomas by the helicopter.

Back on the road again at1620, I noticed immediately that traffic was heavy and the going slow.  There were several road works, including one which took nearly half an hour to travel 1 mile, so I didn't arrive at Welshpool until nearly 1840, only to find that the airport was closed and nobody was there.  After a discussion with Elin, my WAA liaison, I took a "selfie" and was about to leave when the helicopter came in and landed.  I needed no persuasion to park my car in front of the helicopter for a photo opportunity with the crew, and after a chat with them, I set off again for Cardiff. 

It wasn't until I reached Craven Arms that I realised that sat nav was not taking me to Cardiff via the normal route through mid Wales but was directing me via Hereford!  This meant that I was unable to be met and escorted by members of Bridgend MGOC from Merthyr Tydfil, so I rang to give my apologies and eventually arrived at Cardiff heliport around 2310.

Again, no-one was there to meet me, so after calling Elin again, I rang the duty pilot's number to hear that he was at Morriston hospital on a transfer flight.  No selfie this time as it was very dark, so I set off for home, stopping to fill the tank on the way.  

I arrived home at 2342 hours, having covered 406.8 miles over nearly 17 and a half hours.  The car used nearly 17 gallons of petrol, averaging 25 mpg at a cost of just over £108 and I managed to have my first food since breakfast... just after midnight!

In the end, my challenge didn't quite match the "Dawn to Dusk" title, and perhaps should have been called the "Dawn to Midnight" challenge instead!  I gave it my best shot, so PLEASE help me to achieve the target for donations... we're so close now.

Wales Air Ambulance Charity is funded by the people of Wales and requires £8 million a year to keep its four helicopters in the sky, serving Wales and saving lives.  The charity can be anywhere in Wales within 20 minutes, its doctors and medics fly the A&E department to the patient.  It also runs the Children's Wales Air Ambulance service, transferring vulnerable babies and children to the specialist hospitals across the UK.  Your donations will help keep this vital service in Wales.

UPDATE: After a steady increase in donations up to Christmas, they tailed off just short of the target.  However, at the AGM of Bridgend MGOC in February, club members agreed to top up the remaining £40 so that the £2000 target could finally be achieved.  This enabled us to arrange to visit the Llanelli helicopter base to present a "cheque" to members of WAA and to have photos taken for the final press release.  Club President, Paul was delighted to do the presentation, whilst I had the pleasure of chatting with pilot Ben on aviation matters in the meantime.

I should like to thank all who donated so generously to this cause and it made the effort seem very worthwhile.  I wish WAA every success in the future, and I know that Bridgend MGOC will continue to support the charity at every opportunity.

About the charity

The Wales Air Ambulance Charity provides advanced life-saving emergency care for everyone in Wales, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. We are a ‘mobile emergency department’ that relies entirely on donations to keep our helicopters in the air and rapid response vehicles on the road.

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