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300-mile kayak ride to raise vital funds for Thames Valley Air Ambulance

A journalist based in Windsor will be taking on a night-time kayak challenge for Thames Valley Air Ambualnce (TVAA)

Phoebe Smith will be paddling more than 300 miles across Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire in a 10-day challenge to raise awareness about the charity with TVAA doctor John Pike.

The duo hope to raise £10,000 which could fund three life-saving missions for the charity.

Phoebe said: “To paddle the 300-mile distance – the total circumference of the region Thames Valley Air Ambulance serves – will take us 10 nights, but the charity’s helicopter could complete the route in just 45 minutes.

“The speed in which the crew can arrive at a patient’s side can make all the difference when somebody is critically ill. 

“We really hope the challenge highlights to the public just how vital the Thames Valley Air Ambulance is to the community.”

The pair are kayaking in the dark to highlight how the air ambulance service is able to provide advanced medical care at night.

During the day they will be holding talks about their challenge and raise awareness about a free location app, what3words, which can be used to precisely say where a patient is.

John said: “This will be the toughest fundraiser I’ve ever done, both physically and mentally, but donations are vital to keep our emergency service operational.

“Being a doctor at Thames Valley Air Ambulance, I see the difference we can make to a patient and our community, from keeping a critically injured patient free from pain, to open-chest surgery at scene.

“Delivering such advanced medical care at night can require extra consideration due to reduced visibility, extreme weather and navigational challenges.”

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