A PEMBROKESHIRE aviation boss has raised nearly £4,000 for two charities by walking an epic 186 miles along the coastal path.

Steven Landrey whose life was saved by the Wales Air Ambulance set off from Amroth in May and finished the Pembrokeshire Coastal Path Charity Walk at St Dogmaels in August.

Steven, 52, raised £3,900 for the Wales Air Ambulance and the British Heart Foundation.

Steve, who worked as European managing director for air ambulance operator, Babcock, collapsed while out cycling with friends. He suffered a cardiac arrest and stopped breathing. 

Thankfully the Wales Air Ambulance was able to respond swiftly to the scene and gave Steve the lifesaving care he needed.

Ironically, Babcock holds the contract to run the Wales Air Ambulance’s aviation operation. 

The challenge, which took place just nine months after his cardiac arrest, saw Steve covering 314km on foot in 76.5 hours, climbing over 8,400 metres in the process – just a few hundred metres shy of the summit of Mount Everest.

Steve started his epic challenge with his cardiac rehabilitation instructor David Braithwaite, who carried a defibrator ‘just in case’ throughout the 186 miles.

A delighted Steve said: “What an experience! There was some amazing scenery, wildlife that put a smile on your face, rain that only Wales can deliver, and sunrises that remind you how small you really are on this planet we call home.

“After ‘competing’ all my life – whether in a sporting sense, a career sense, or indeed with myself, this walk has started to educate me to focus on ‘enjoying’ rather than pushing to best I can be all the time. It’s only taken me 52 years to get to this epiphany!”

Dedicated Steve walked twice a week to get the miles in and was joined by his wife Katrina and their two dogs, Jumble and Nigel. Many family and friends showed their support to Steve by joining him on his walks throughout his fundraiser.

Steve is extremely grateful to everyone who has supported him since he became ill and during his challenge.

He added: “Most important of all, are the people that supported me on this adventure. My wife who, not just over the course this walk, but over the past 12 months, has constantly been there when I needed her most, when I’ve been at my most vulnerable and when at times I’ve lost perspective. I love you.

“David Braithwaite, who planned and guided the walk. Who helped me to be in good enough cardiac condition to do the walk and who carried a defibrillator the whole 314km’s “just in case”. Thank you.”

Steve would also like to thank everyone who has not only walked with him but has supported and encouraged him throughout. He was grateful for the company on his walks that ‘made the whole endeavour so much more enjoyable’.

Steve said: “I’m delighted by the amount of money we’ve raised, now nearing £4000. I’ve sure Wales Air Ambulance and British Heart Foundation will put the money to good use as they continue to support the health and wellbeing of our communities. Of course, none of this would have been possible without those that have supported and donated towards this charity walk, thank you so much.”

Babcock Director Hayley Belmore said: “We know what we do is important, and we are extremely proud to be part of the incredible service the Wales Air Ambulance Charity provides, but when you respond to someone you know, it really amplifies it. Everyone at Babcock is so pleased Steve has made such a good recovery and we congratulate him on his epic fundraiser!”

Wales Air Ambulance Chief Executive, Dr Sue Barnes, said: “Congratulations to Steve who raised an incredible £3,900 for two charities close to his heart. It is incredible that he set himself the challenge of walking 186 miles less than a year after his life was saved by our medics. His dedication following his experience is an absolute inspiration and it’s a great relief to hear that Steve is recovering well after his illness.

“Our Charity has worked in partnership with Babcock for many years and Steve was on the receiving end of a service that he has proactively been involved in. On behalf of our Charity, I’d like to offer my heartfelt thanks to Steve and his supporters, who have supported him throughout his recovery and fundraiser. Every contribution helps to keep our helicopters in the air so that we can continue to provide a lifesaving service for the people of Wales.”

In December 2020, the Charity achieved its aim of operating a 24/7 service. Wales now has access to the service’s Emergency Department-standard critical care around the clock and to keep the helicopters in the air, the Charity needs to raise £8 million every year.

There are several ways that the public can continue to support the Wales Air Ambulance.

These include online donations, signing up to the Charity’s Lifesaving Lottery or by coming up with their own innovative ways to fundraise at home. Further information can be found via www.walesairambulance.com. 

Alternatively, a £5 text-message donation can be made by texting the word HELI to 70711.