A MAN who almost lost a friend in a near-fatal accident is getting in the saddle to help the charity that saved her life.
Carl Lovett, 28, from Chester Street, Sunderland, is taking on a 140-mile bike ride to raise money for the Great North Air Ambulance Service (GNAAS).
He was inspired to help the charity after they flew to the aid of family friend Frankie Pitt, 17, who was involved in a horse-riding accident last July.
Frankie, from Seaburn, was thrown from her horse while show jumping and suffered serious head injuries.
GNAAS flew to the scene and stabilised the teenager before she was flown to the Royal Victoria Infirmary in Newcastle.
Carl, who works for EDF Energy, said: “The quick actions of the charity saved her life, managing to deliver her to Newcastle RVI which specialises in head injuries.
“The amazing service not only gave her the chance of a full recovery – but also gave her family the opportunity to see her mischievous smile again.”
Carl will cycle with a group of fund-raising friends from Whitehaven in Cumbria to South Shields this weekend.
He has already raised £200 but hopes Frankie’s story will inspire extra donations.
He said: “I hope people get behind the cause as much as they can. GNAAS is a service you don’t really know are there until you need them. They help support the North of England and are a credit to the region.”
Mandy Drake, head of fund-raising at GNAAS, said: “We’d like to thank Carl for his support and wish him the best of luck in his ride and fund-raising.
“The Pitt family have already held fund-raisers in aid of the charity and we’d like to thank everybody who has donated to the cause.
“Sadly, Frankie’s story is typical of the kind of work our aircraft do on an all too regular basis.
“Every penny donated goes straight to support our helicopters and their crews, so Carl’s efforts are very much appreciated.”
•To donate to the challenge visit http://www.justgiving.com/Carl-Lovett. To make a text donation TXRK80 £5(or any amount) to 70070.