Staff at Honiton travel firm to static cycle along firefighters to help send girl to Disney resort

PUBLISHED: 12:37 12 September 2019 | UPDATED: 07:59 13 September 2019

Seaton fire engine. Picture: Chris Carson

Seaton fire engine. Picture: Chris Carson


Staff from Honiton’s Hays Travel branch are taking part in a cycle challenge alongside the firefighters from Middlemoor Fire Station who are cycling from Exeter to Basingstoke.

The travel agent staff will match the firefighters' miles using exercise bikes in the High Street shops along the route.

On the May 30 this year, firefighters from the Exeter group of the Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue service rescued Amelie Aitken from a road traffic collision, which claimed her dad's life.

The firefighters are cycling from Exeter to Basingstoke today (September 13), where the family were travelling to at the time of the accident, in the hope to raise enough money to send Amelie to a Disney resort.

Hays Travel have not only sponsored the team cycling the 150 miles but the local retail branches located along the route are matching the team's miles on exercise bikes within their branches over the same days in an attempt to raise even more funds.

Honiton is one of eight branches taking part - the others based in Exeter, Sidmouth, Tiverton, Yeovil, Salisbury, Topsham, and Basingstoke.

Mandy Sousa, manager of the Hays Travel Foundation, said: "We got involved because it is a great cause, and Hays' ethos is helping children through the Hays Travel Foundation.

"But also our branches are encouraged to help within the local community. 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 Amelie get to Disney and it has been our pleasure to be involved."

Each branch within Hays Travel get a yearly budget that they can use to sponsor any fundraising activities to support those in need within their local community.

Daniel Lampard, Firefighter from Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue service, said: "We're aiming to see Amelie and her family to either Paris or Orlando depending on how much we can raise.

"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."

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