“YOU never know when you might need the air ambulance”.

That’s the important message from the mum of a teenager who suffered severe injuries in a serious horse riding accident in September last year.

Bingley girl Sophie Shaw, who was 13 at the time, was left with collapsed lungs, a broken collar bone and three fractured ribs, and is now helping to raise funds for the life-saving Yorkshire Air Ambulance which helped in her time of need. 

YAA dispatched its aircraft to the scene and flew Sophie to the Major Trauma Centre at Leeds General Infirmary for urgent treatment, which she had to undergo without her parents by her side due to Covid-19 restrictions. 

The family said the week she spent in hospital after the traumatic incident was “emotionally very difficult” as only her mum, Vicky, 44, was allowed to stay with her, with no-one else allowed to visit.

After her ordeal, and a three-month phased return to school, Sophie was finally able to resume normal life and began thinking about the ways she could raise funds for YAA to thank them for flying her to hospital.

When the recent lockdown measures were eased, Sophie’s family put plans in motion to do a sponsored walking challenge.

Vicky said: “We will be forever grateful to Yorkshire Air Ambulance and the NHS for their amazing care. 

“September 14 2020 was a normal day for us prior to Sophie’s accident, which goes to show, you just never know when you may need the air ambulance.”

The 46-mile challenge is being completed by Sophie, now 14, her nine-year-old brother Daniel and her cousins Lewis, nine, and Aimee, seven. 

The distance is significant, as it marks the air miles from the Topcliffe airbase, to the scene of Sophie’s accident, and the onward flight to to the LGI.

Their fundraising journey, which started on Monday, May 17, has seen the family complete walks over Ingleborough, around Malham Cove and Bolton Abbey. They have also been racking up the miles locally.

So far, the family has raised nearly £1,700, with still more than a month until their fundraiser ends on July 10, when the family also plan to take part in Total Warrior’s Junior Warrior challenge at Bramham Park.

Helen Berriman, West Yorkshire Community Fundraiser for Yorkshire Air Ambulance, said: “We would like to say a huge thank you to everyone taking part in the challenge and a big well done for raising an incredible £1,610 so far. 

“It costs £12,000 a day to keep both of Yorkshire’s air ambulances maintained and in the air and all of the support we receive is truly appreciated and will help us continue saving lives and helping others like Sophie across the region.”

Sophie’s story will appear in the Discovering Channel series ‘Helicopter ER’ which will be broadcast on Channel Really later this year.

YAA provides a rapid response service to five million people across four million acres of Yorkshire, and is operational seven days a week, 365 days a year. They attend more than 1,500 incidents per year, an average of four every single day.

To support the Yorkshire Air Ambulance, as well as more information and to donate to Sophie’s JustGiving page, visit: www.justgiving.com/fundraising/vicky-shaw13