Almost 200 Huddersfield Town fans hit the fundraising trail for Yorkshire’s helicopter heroes on Saturday for an annual walk with added significance.
Among the walkers was Tommy Smith’s dad, who joined in as a thank you to the air crews who came to the aid of his stricken son.
Smith, 22, was knocked out in a collision at the end of Town’s home game against Leeds in January.
He was carried off after lengthy treatment on the pitch and the helicopter was called to take him to Leeds General Infirmary.
A couple of walkers failed to complete the course while most arrived leg weary, blistered – but elated.
Tracy Nunns, 50, of Roberttown, walked with friend Sharon Wood, 51, of Mirfield. They were among the last to finish but Tracy said: “It was tough but it’s a big achievement. My body was saying no but my mind said to carry on.”
Click below to see pictures of the walkers arriving at the stadium
Allison Turner, of West Vale, works for Yorkshire Air Ambulance and knows how important the charity is. “It’s fabulous and I just wanted to do my bit,” she said.
Friends Nicola Cromack, 34, of Morley, and Sasha Ingala, 44, of Leeds, did the walk as part of their training for a charity trek up Kilimanjaro on Boxing Day.
“What we’ve found is that Killy’s going to kill us!” said Nicola.
Lee Matthews, 43, licensee at the New Inn at Sowood, was joined by Jamie Gill, 23, and Joe Dyda, 18, and the pub team hopes to have raised £750.
“It was tough but there were a lot of smiles on the way,” said Lee. “We managed it in five hours.”
Pals Dawn Hufton, 30, of Dalton, Alex Pickles, 32, of Halifax, and Sarah Booth, 24, of Kirkheaton, were happy to finish but gave the match a miss.
“We’re going for a cider instead,” grinned Dawn.
A team of 11 from event sponsors Thornhill Dental Surgery in Dewsbury hope to have added £800 to the cause.
“It was tiring but rewarding,” said practice manager James Tattersfield, 23.
The walk was in aid of Town’s Keep It Up campaign which splits money between the air ambulance and the club’s youth academy. The walks have raised £60,000 so far.
Walkers also included Town chairman Dean Hoyle, Academy chief Mark Lillis, club ambassador Andy Booth and director Sean Jarvis.
The Duke of York will officially open the air ambulance’s purpose-built Nostell Air Support Unit base on Wednesday.