On Sunday 29 September our very own doctor, John Pike, alongside world adventurer, Phoebe Smith, set off on the toughest fundraising expedition of their lives, a 300-mile night-time kayaking challenge. They hope to raise £10,000, which could fund three life-saving missions for our helicopter.

The challenge, taking place over ten days, sees the daring duo navigate some of Britain's most iconic waterways - including the River Thames and the Grand Union Canal - around the three counties that we operate; Berkshire, Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire.

Having begun their challenge from Benson Waterfront at 5pm, John and Phoebe are undertaking their appropriately named adventure - NightVision - in darkness to raise awareness of our night-flying service which launched in partnership with the Hampshire & Isle of Wight Air Ambulance in 2018.

During the day the pair invite you to join them at scheduled rest stops, where they'll be answering questions about the charity and the challenge. 

Follow Phoebe and John's progress throughout their adventure via the map below:

Responding to emergencies during the hours of darkness can be an immensely challenging task for our helicopter crews and Critical Care Response vehicles; from locating patients from 1,000ft in the air to treating the most critically ill patients using the limited visibility provided by a head-torch. 

To make the ambitious adventure even more demanding, John and Phoebe are sleeping wild, using only what they can carry in their specially made kayak - which has the same design as our helicopter. 

Doctor John Pike, who is also a rainforest canopy expert, is no stranger to adventure, but admits that this is his most extreme challenge yet. “This will be the toughest challenge I’ve ever done, both physically and mentally, but fundraising is vital to keep our emergency service operational,” said John.

Doctor John and Phoebe alongside helicopter and kayak

‘Being a doctor at Thames Valley Air Ambulance, I see the difference we can make to a patient and our community; from keeping a critically injured patient free from pain, to open-chest surgery at scene. Delivering such advanced medical care at night can require extra consideration due to reduced visibility, extreme weather and navigational challenges. We’re so thankful to all of those that may choose to support us. If you’d like to donate, please do visit our fundraising page’. doctor John Pike. 

Follow John and Phoebe on social media for live updates throughout the challenge, or visit their JustGiving page to donate.