Scores ‘fly’ to help Wiltshire charity stay in air

Wiltshire Times: Diane Gilpin, Hilary Stone and David Philpott Diane Gilpin, Hilary Stone and David Philpott

Air ambulance boss David Philpott was among scores of walkers who strode the hills of Wiltshire at the weekend to take part in the White Horse Challenge.

It is hoped this year’s event raised a record amount for Wiltshire Air Ambulance and that last year’s £8,500 has been beaten. The good result also means that the total raised by the challenge since it started in 2006 will top £100,000.

Mr Philpott, who is chief executive of Wiltshire Air Ambulance Charitable Trust, led a team called On White Horses, and he crossed the finish line at Devizes Police Headquarters on Sunday in third place.

He completed the full 52 miles challenge over two days while most of his team, which included a number of youngsters, did the one-day challenge in relay.

Challenge organiser Zoe Meaden said: “Mr Philpott was taking part for the first time and he seemed to be chuffed to bits with the way everything had gone. He was very appreciative of the hard work that went into organising the challenge.

“The whole weekend was fantastic. It mainly stayed dry and although it was quite warm no-one complained. It was great after last year being so hot and the year before being wet and muddy. The atmosphere was really good. There were no injuries, but quite a lot of sore feet.

“A couple of people did get lost on Sunday, but we quickly found them and they got to the end to collect their certificates and goodie bags.”

This year 26 teams, totalling 75 people, took part, with most walking the full 52-mile route which organisers think helped swell sponsorship.

First home was a team of explorer scouts led by Bob Luckett from sponsors Monahans. Tom Edmonds, 18, and Dave Brittain, 18, of Kingswood Explorers finished about four hours ahead of the rest of the field.

Walkers camped at Blackland, near Calne on Saturday and enjoyed sharing their experiences. The route took in seven of Wiltshire’s white horses.

The sponsors are Monahans accountants, Rygor of Westbury and Rocking Horse nursery from Shaw, near Melksham.

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