The Royal Oak in Chapel Ash, run by the amazing duo Terry and Emma Cole, hosted a charity challenge that saw various community groups take part in the “Oakers Relay” on 2nd September.
The challenge was organised by the pair in support of their favourite charity, the Midland Freewheelers, who are a biker group and members of the National Association of Blood Bikes (NABB).
They offer a 24/7 service transporting blood, breast milk and urgent medical supplies - all for free. The Royal Oak community has been raising money for the Blood Bikers charity for over eight years, and this time around felt they needed to raise the stakes to continue to secure funding for this great cause.
On the morning of Saturday 2nd September, ten bikers made their way to their first point at Ross on Wye, while six cyclists set off for the first leg of the relay – a fourteen mile trip along country lanes to RAF Cosford. The bikers carried with them two relay balls, (a netball and a football) that were to be passed on to sports teams as part of the challenge.
RAF Cosford is the home of the Midlands Air Ambulance, where the Blood Bikers supply them with vital blood top ups and medical supplies. Like the Blood Bikers, the Midland Air Ambulance are charity funded. Arriving at 11am on the Saturday morning, the bikers handed the relay balls over to the cyclists, and were even invited to the helipad to see the helicopter lying in wait to be called out!
The next leg of the relay was now underway, with the cyclists departing on a short seven mile ride to the Hartley Arms to meet the walking team.
Under the heat of the midday sun, the walkers set off to complete their leg of the relay along the Staffordshire Union Canal and winding countryside paths, on to the Aldersley Stadium. Two and a half hours later, the walking team safely arrived to hand over the relay balls to the sports teams who would battle it out in the stadium, while the walkers took a well-earned rest.
Keen supporters of the local community, The Royal Oak are sponsors of the men’s football team and ladies netball team who took part in the challenge. After some fierce competition from both sides, the teams, along with a crowd of approximately fifty onlookers made their way back to The Royal Oak for celebration drinks. They were met there by the runners who carried the relay balls along a disused railway track up Compton Hill, completing a three and a half mile run back to The Royal Oak to close off the challenge.
Terry and Emma have once again pulled off a fantastic fundraising effort for their chosen charity, doubling their goal of £1500 with the help of the community. Next time they have said that the target will be doubled from the get-go, which is great news for the Free Wheelers and those who benefit from their service.
Bringing community and local charities together is just one of the fantastic things that we know you do in your pubs - please get in touch at [email protected] to tell us your stories so we can share them with other BII members
If you would like to learn more about the Midland Freewheelers or the Blood Bikes, or make a donation, please visit the following links: