Couple trek 72 miles to give back to cause after air ambulance staff helped girl

Alan Harding and Sinead Maguire at Cannock Chase, on their way back to Bury <i>(Image: Sinead Maguire)</i>
Alan Harding and Sinead Maguire at Cannock Chase, on their way back to Bury (Image: Sinead Maguire)

A Radcliffe mum and her partner have completed an epic 36-hour running challenge in aid of a cause close to their hearts.

Sinead Maguire and her partner Alan Harding took on the Escape from Meriden challenge in November to raise money for North West Air Ambulance Charity after its staff rushed to help Sinead’s daughter, Ruby, following an accident.

The trek, which began in Meriden, Coventry, at midnight last Friday, saw participants attempt to get as far away as possible on foot within a 36-hour time limit.

Sinead and Alan aimed to raise a thousand pounds for the charity to thank its crews for their role in helping 12-year-old, Ruby, who sustained a serious head injury after falling of a horse in September last year.

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Bury Times: Sinead Maguire and Alan Harding on the Escape from Meriden challenge
Bury Times: Sinead Maguire and Alan Harding on the Escape from Meriden challenge

Sinead Maguire and Alan Harding on the Escape from Meriden challenge (Image: Sinead Maguire)

Sinead, 38, said: “It was ridiculously cold, and having the chain on was really quite debilitating, more than we thought it would be, it was very difficult.”

Despite the added hurdle of being tied together, Sinead and Alan managed to travel 72 miles to Congleton, around 30 miles short from their aim of reaching Bury.

The couple mapped a route back to the town and stopped at pubs and shops when they were in need of a rest.

“We found all the 24-hour garages and things like that along the way, and people were great, we went into Wetherspoons at eight in the morning for a coffee.

“When we explained the challenge, they gave us free coffee and let us use the disabled toilets.”

Before the challenge, the couple had hoped to raise around a thousand pounds but by the end had collected almost four thousand in donations.

Sinead hopes the challenge will help to raise awareness of the air ambulance’s work and that the money raised will help them continue its vital work.

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Bury Times: Sinead and Alan were chained together for the duration of their 72 mile trek
Bury Times: Sinead and Alan were chained together for the duration of their 72 mile trek

Sinead and Alan were chained together for the duration of their 72 mile trek (Image: Sinead Maguire)

She added: “It’s a really interesting race, really unusual and it kind of captures people’s imaginations.

“[It has] the ability to capture people’s attention and then highlight that the air ambulance is a charity, so whenever anybody sees the ambulance flying by, you just think ‘thank god they’re there.’”

Since her accident, Ruby is recovering well and while she is waiting to have further surgeries, she has returned to school and is "living a normal life".

“I’m in eternal debt to the air ambulance charity for the rest of my life, I’m going to continue to fundraise, I would like to do something each year that captures people’s imagination and raise the profile of the charity.”