We had such a lovely day training the time flew by and so without thought when leaving Smart Motorcycle Training we made our way straight to Fairwood Airport to meet up with the Wales Air Ambulance Charity Group. Based just on the outskirts of Mumbles prior to Moorlake woods, it’s in a stunning location. Sam comments on what a superb ride it is over these commons on a motorcycle… something he had the pleasure to experience when passing through on his previous journey a few years back before returning fully to the UK. I could see where he was coming from. On a stunning day like today it would be stupendous – open gentle curvaceous roads with rolling commons as far as the eye could see, all sporadically littered with plumped four legged cotton wool creatures. What an awesome place to be based for work! Pulling into the airport we initially go straight to the café which is brimming with old boys drinking a tipple or too and reminiscing of their days in flight. We’re kindly directed to some units a bit further back up the drive and upon a knock at the door we’re greeted by a pleasant fellow who advises us we have to call the Wales Ambulance crew who will let us in the side gate. He offers us the use of the phone and passes the relevant number over.
Wales Air Ambulance: “Hello Fairwood Wales Air Ambulance base how can we help you?”
Clare: “Hey up is that Chris by any chance?!”
Wales Air Ambulance: “It is indeed!”
Clare: “Heeeeeeey hey Chris! How are you didderling?! It’s Sam and Clare here from Chasing Horizons! We’ve just finished our training and popped up to say boo!!”
Chris: *sounding a bit confused*…. “Heey… yeh good thank you!… Ermm… I will come let you in… see you by the gate!”
We thank the jolly chap for the use of his phone and wait outside in the rays of the soon-to-be-setting sun. A couple of minutes later a rather tall chap appears in a paramedics outfit and heads towards the gate smiling but looking a bit confused. Sam and I take a look at each other… we’re both a little surprised that the lead Charity Organiser is indeed a paramedic as well!
Clare: “Hey there Chris!! Nice to finally meet you!”
Chris: “Hello… I think you may have the wrong Chris! I’m not entirely sure who you guys are but pleasure to meet you anyway!” he begins to open the gate…
Clare: “Oh?! Really?!”
Chris: “Yeh I think you may be thinking of Chris from the fund raising office! I have no idea who you are but you sounded so friendly I figured I must know you and would come on down”
Sam: “I… I know you though… you… you’re from college?!”
*pause… they both study each other for a moment and then it clicks…*
Chris: “Ooooooh yeh… is it Sam? From Business Studies!?”
Sam: “YEeeeh! No way! Hey hey how are you doing mate!?!?”
We soon discover that we’d actually come to the wrong place entirely and the Charity Office was in fact just round the corner from where we had been training earlier! What planks! Despite it not being the Chris we thought we were meeting, we find it amusing that Sam actually knows him from college 20 years previous! Small world eh!? Chris takes us up to the helipad and after a few exchanges of old time stories between Sam and Chris, we end up revealing the charity round the world motorbike trip we’re doing for the Wales Air Ambulance. Being a biker himself, Chris is eager to learn more and invites us into their office for a cuppa where we’re greeted by the full crew! What a stupendous honour!
An hour goes by of exchanging tales of the job, our history, their backgrounds, the plans of the trip, taking a look at the Chasing Horizons webby and plenty of tea drinking and laughing.
Grant-the-pilot: “So how long do you reckon it’s going to take you then to get round the world?”
Sam: “Well considering we navigated ourselves to the completely wrong place in our own homeland, a darn site longer than we thought!”
The whole crew are lovely beyond belief and so incredibly welcoming and genuinely excited about our adventure. During our conversations, Chris suggests we both arrange a time to pop up and he’ll give us a one-to-one session on first aid training which he can tailor to be specific to our needs for the up and coming journey. Naturally this is an offer we cannot refuse and a gesture which reflects the generosity and kindness of the crew here.
After a bit more chinwagging we’re then led outside for an introduction to the helicopter… something which causes my geeky side to induce a flutter in the chest. There’s something quite profound about helicopters and both Sam and I exclaim how we find the physics of their workings a complete enigma. How do these gorgeously carved lumps of metal actually get off the ground by their so delicate looking blades!?! It’s mind boggling! But this one is even more baffling due to how it’s been so fantastically adapted for the job. As she’s opened up for us to see the insides though, there’s a shout out from the office… a job has just come in. We thank them so much for their time and quickly make our way towards the gate as the crew gather what they need and start the red beauty up. From beyond the gate we watch them quickly and efficiently climb aboard the now thumping helicopter with the sun setting in the distance over the common. What a stunning sight!
Sam and I clamber back into our little hunkachunk of a Toyota Yaris and bundle off over the hills… yeh okay we fluffed up on where we were going that day but discovered the wonderful unit and crew there instead. We both chatted and agreed that upon hearing first hand of some of the incidents they attend, particularly their involvement with motorcyclists, it confirms yet again how unbelievably chuffed we are to be helping out these fellas do such an important service. It’s shocking how their service is all charity funded, it seems almost insane it’s not a government funded scheme. With the cost of each individual mission now raised to near £2000 and their need of £6million a year to stay afloat, we feel a great swell from within to do everything in our power to help them out.
If you have read this and want to know more about the Wales Air Ambulance or would like to make a donation to this fantastic cause, please utilise the links below!
We’d like to extend many thanks again to the team up at Fairwood for accepting our surprise visit and equally apologise to the Charity Fundraising Unit we were supposed to see!! Best get practising our directions and look forward to seeing you all soon!Share this