BIKERS who rode 1,200 miles in honour of a friend who died in a motorcycle accident have raised thousands of pounds.
The Hylton Hornets donned fancy dress to ride from South Hylton to Scotland and back in aid of the Great North Air Ambulance.
The 25 bikers paid £500 each to take part, in memory of Neil Hamilton, 60, who died after a collision with a pick-up truck while riding his 600cc BMW bike.
The former IT, business, science and maths teacher, of Offerton Close, South Hylton, was married with two children. He died near Tow Low in April this year.
He was an advanced motorcyclist, who used his teaching skills to train other bikers.
The Hylton Hornets, who formed eight-months-ago, raised £2,704 for the life saving charity in his memory from the five-day trip.
Club chair Paul Steele, who helped to organise the bike ride in June, said some of those who took part knew Neil as a biker but wanted to raise money for the great North Air Ambulance because the cost of them attending the accident which killed Neil was about £10,000.
“It was easy to decide where they money should go,” he said. “But we never expected to raise as much.
“When we formed we just thought we would try and raise some money.
“The work the air ambulance do is amazing – when you are in a remote place it is the quickest and best option for getting you to hospital, and it’s not just bikers they help.”
One life saving helicopter journey to hospital costs the charity about £2,500, so the money the money raised by the bike club could potentially save a life.
At a charity event at The Golden Lion Pub, South Hylton, on Friday, the Hylton Hornets presented a cheque for the money raised to a representative from Great North Air Ambulance.
Paul said it was a long time coming.
“Since the bike ride the money has kept coming in so it’s taken a while to get it all together,” he said.
“But the rep from the air ambulance was grateful and said we could be saving a life with the money.
“It’s been such a success we are hoping to make the bike trip an annual event.”