Travel agents’ pedal power in support of firefighters’ fund for bereaved schoolgirl

Travel agents from Sidmouth and Honiton are gearing up to match firefighters cycling 150 miles to raise funds to send a six-year-old bereaved girl to Disneyland.

Staff from eight Hays Travel branches are taking part in a static cycle challenge alongside firefighters from Middlemoor Fire Station who are cycling from Exeter to Basingstoke in two days.

The travel agent staff will match the firefighters’ miles using exercise bikes in the eight shops along the route.

Funds from the challenge are to send Amelia Aitken, six, and her family to Disneyland in Paris or Orlando. Firefighters hope to raise £8,000 for the family.

In May this year Amelia was rescued by Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service firefighters when the vehicle she was in crashed on the A30, near Whimple, killing her dad.

Hays Travel has sponsored the cycling team’s 150-mile challenge and its retail branches located along the route will match the team’s miles on exercise bikes over two days.

Branches taking part are in Exeter St Thomas, Honiton, Sidmouth, Tiverton, Yeovil, Salisbury, Topsham, and Basingstoke.

Mandy Sousa, manager of the Hays Travel Foundation, said: “The journey the firefighters are travelling passed a number of our branches, so this is a great way to get them all involved.

“The job of a firefighter is extremely high pressured and we can only imagine the tragedies they come across.

“They are going above and beyond their duties to help Amelia get to Disney and it has been our pleasure to be involved.”

Daniel Lampard, Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service firefighter, said: “We are genuinely overwhelmed by the generosity and enthusiasm towards our challenge.

“For Hays Travel to be so generous without being directly involved in the accident is just amazing. When I got the initial call from Mandy it genuinely brought a tear to my eye.

“I honestly can’t thank Hays Travel enough for what they’re doing.”

Each branch within Hays Travel receives a yearly budget to sponsor any fundraising activities, supporting those in need within their local community.

For more information on Amelia’s challenge, and to donate, contact your local Hays Travel branch or visit the firefighters’ JustGiving page here

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