Scooter riders' 7,500-mile trip raises £6,000 for Great North Air Ambulance Service

Two scooter riders have raised more than £1,500 for a cause close to their hearts after an epic journey with over 400 destinations.

Tuesday, 19th October 2021, 1:29 pm

To help the Great North Air Ambulance Service (GNAAS), between April and October Chris Thornton from Harton, in South Shields, alongside his friend Mick Geach, took his classic 1968 Lambretta with sidecar to places including Berwick, Whitby, and Britain’s highest pub, the Tan Hill in North Yorkshire.

Chris, 56 and Mick, 53, are members of the South Tyneside Scooter Club (STSC). The North East Scooter Collective, an umbrella group for all the region’s clubs, set the target.

The aim was to reach 450 destinations and provide photographic proof, with the first stop being The Customs House in South Shields.

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Chris Thornton, sitting on the white scooter with daughter Molly in the sidecar, at the GNAAS cheque presentation in Whitburn.

Chris and Mick both managed over 400, even though some destinations involved a 14-hour journey. This put Chris ninth of the 150 riders, but first in the classic scooter category.

Each rider paid a £20 registration fee, which went straight to the charity. More was raised through sponsorship.

The scooterists, of which 19 were from STSC, have raised more than £6,500. The cheque was handed over to GNAAS at the Village Cafe in Whitburn, where STSC have their meetings.

Chris’ sidecar did not carry passengers, but was used to store petrol, spare wheels and other essentials.

There was a big turnout of the scooter fraternity in Whitburn.

He covered around 7,500 miles. There were many repairs along the way and Chris is grateful to Jarrow scooter mechanic Phil Stewart.

Chris is a former demolition manager. In 2004 he lost most of his right leg in an industrial accident, but that has not stopped him from doing what he loves.

He said: “I think GNAAS was the charity chosen by the Wearside Wanderers Scooter Club, because they’ve done so much for bikers and scooterists.

"There have been accidents where a normal ambulance would struggle to get to us. It’s close to the hearts of many people who ride.

Chris Thornton covered 7,500 miles for the Great North Air Ambulance Service on his 1968 Lambretta with sidecar.

“We’re all very proud. There’s a sense of achievement. The main focus is to raise funds; most of us are at that age where we want to give a little back. But we’ve made a lot of friends and it’s brought the clubs closer together.”

Chris’s daughter Molly, 15, raised another £350 selling raffle tickets at the presentation. To contribute to GNAAS, visit the JustGiving page here.

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