Posted: Thu 6th Jun 2024

Epic Bike Ride Raises Over £11k in Memory of Dynamic Rescuer

North Wales news and information

The life of a “dynamic and friendly” Eryri search and rescuer has been remembered in an epic bike ride which has raised more than £11,000 to help save lives.
Described as an “amazing man” Paul Hickson was a key member of Tîm Achub A Chwilio De Eryri – (South Snowdonia Search And Rescue Team).
The 63-year-old had served as its deputy leader until he sadly passed away after a short illness in July, 2023.
His brother-in-law Rob Coldicott from Whitbourn said Paul, who had retired to Bala but hailed originally from London, was “an integral part” of the rescue team and his passing had been an “enormous loss.”
Rob said: “He touched so many lives and a few more people are walking around today thanks, in part, to his involvement with the SSSART.
“He was such a dynamic and friendly presence and was instrumental in the development of training new recruits, overseeing the team’s equipment and kit, and representing the team at national meetings and beyond.”
Before he retired craftsman Paul was self-employed, and skilled in renovating stained glass.
To honour Paul’s memory, Rob organised a 254 miles charity bike ride from London to Bala.
The ‘Tour de Paul’ took in key locations of Paul’s life and aimed to raise funds and awareness of SSSART’s vital work.
Starting on Tuesday, May 28, the first day got underway at the Herne Hill Velodrome, in London.
The first day’s cycling went via King’s College Hospital and The Emirates Stadium – as Paul was a keen Arsenal fan.
Averaging about 50 miles a day over the five days, the ride followed a route to Daventry, Birmingham and Shrewsbury, finally finishing at Bala on Saturday, June 1.
In total, 30 cyclists took part over the five day challenge, and 24 rode in the final stage from Shrewsbury to Bala, with everyone successfully managing to climb the gruelling Milltir Cerrig pass over the Berwyn mountains.
A core team of seven riders completed the whole route, supported by a dedicated crew of four, who followed the tour in a couple of support vehicles.
Rob said: “We were led into Bala behind a Mountain Rescue vehicle riding past Paul’s house and onto the lake, with the mountain rescue team and our supporters providing an incredibly emotional and noisy reception with cow bells and all manner of pots and pans being used.
“After a celebratory drink some of the riders ended up cooling down in the lake! That evening we had an end of tour event, the Bala Gala, and around 50 of us celebrated what has been a truly amazing five days.
“We cycled through topping at Paul’s brothers and his parents’ house on the way.
“Apart from a number of punctures and one serious mechanical failure in Birmingham, which was fixed at an amazing bike shop, there were no real issues and the whole event went very smoothly.”
He added that the event had managed to raise more than £11k to date.
“We are keeping the fund open for a short while so people can still donate to this worthy cause.
“We cherish Paul’s memory, and we will forever keep him in our hearts. He was an amazing man.”
The life-saving SSSART team operates in the South of the Eryri national park area. It provides vital support to North Wales Police in the event of a mountain emergencies and is called upon to help locate missing or vulnerable people in lowland and built-up areas.
People can still make a donation by visiting www.tourdepaul.co.uk.

By Dale Spridgeon – Local Democracy Reporter



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