Thief fails to ruin the day

PUBLISHED: 08:17 07 May 2008 | UPDATED: 21:48 15 June 2010

A FLYPAST by the Devon Air Ambulance helicopter marked the ninth annual Honiton-organised cycle ride in aid of the charity, held at the weekend.

A FLYPAST by the Devon Air Ambulance helicopter marked the ninth annual Honiton-organised cycle ride in aid of the charity, held at the weekend.The poignant moment, which occurred as the helicopter returned to base following a 999 call-out on Saturday, was a highlight of the event, which attracted 207 participants - the highest ever number.But a thief could have ruined the whole weekend. Organisers Adrian and Julie Phillips were distraught when a collection tin was stolen from their car, parked at Crediton Library, on Sunday.Adrian, 41, and Julie, 36, of Whitebridges, Honiton, were visiting Julie's mum, Lil Hodge, when the theft occurred. Luckily, the tin contained just £2.50 - or less.They are overjoyed by the support received on Saturday and say riders outnumbered last year's by 36.In 2007, the event raised more than £1,000 for the Devon Air Ambulance Trust, but Mr Phillips believes "it's a waiting game" - to see if the 2008 cycle ride has raised so much. Just under £1,400 in sponsor money was still to come when he spoke to the Herald on Monday.According to him, highlights of the cycle ride included fancy dress appearances by Hulk Hogan, the "only gay in the village" from Little Britain and Spider Man. "There were quite a lot of cross-dressers, that's all I can say," he told the Herald. "I don't know if we'll reach £2,000. We'd like to think so, but can't guarantee it."An 11-seater bicycle, produced by sponsor Hillside Garage, had everybody talking - especially after they had read a sign on the bike: "Eleven times caution", said Mr Phillips.Caroline Creer, of the Devon Air Ambulance Trust, officially launched the event at a new venue, The Otter Inn.Other sponsors included South West Highways, without whom the event would not have taken place, Cycle1, in Honiton, and Heathpark Commercials.Mr and Mrs Phillips would like to thank town crier Dave Retter for his attendance.A special thank you is requested for Honitonian Mike Layzell and all those who make events 'happen', courtesy of St John Ambulance.

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