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Girls from Newbury and Hermitage walk the walk for Thames Valley Air Ambulance

Friends with autism and hypermobility raise more than £2k for air ambulance charity

John Herring

John Herring


01635 886633

Girls from Newbury and Hermitage walk the walk for Thames Valley Air Ambulance

TWO girls born with mobility issues have walked hand-in-hand for 10km to raise money for a charity they love.  

There were smiles, claps and cheers as friends Selina Sadler and Esme Stannard, completed a sponsored 20 laps of The Oaks estate in Newbury on Saturday.

The girls are high-functioning autistic and both have hypermobility.

Although this made the challenge harder, the girls were determined to finish the walk and raise money for the Thames Valley Air Ambulance (TVAA). 

The four-year-olds, from Newbury and Hermitage, both love emergency vehicles, especially the red Thames Valley Air Ambulance. 

The girls want to raise £3,325 – the cost to send the air ambulance on each mission – and have raised £2,445 on their fundraising page so far. 

They had been excited for ‘lap day’, counting down the days similar to the build-up to Christmas.

And they weren’t disappointed as they were joined by a man in red suit –  TVAA mascot Bob. 

Selina’s mother Charlotte said there was a lot of excitement, with her daughter waking up at 6am saying: “Lap day! Lap day!” 

After the walk she said: “They were so happy and tired, but when we told them how much they managed to raise they were amazed and said they would do it again until they reached their target. Bless them.

“I am absolutely amazed at how strong and determined they are and so pleased we’ve managed to raise £2,445 so far for such a worthwhile cause.”

Mrs Sadler thanked people for their generous donations and sponsors The Sanctuary Tattoo Parlour in Newbury and The Merry Kitchen in Chieveley, who donated and provided a prize voucher. 

Mrs Sadler said the families would look at holding an annual charity event on the anniversary of her grandfather’s death.

Selena’s father Jamie said: “They have been fantastic.

“They were determined they were going to complete it.

“I’m a very, very proud dad. 

“Everyone has been so generous with the amount they have donated.

“I thought we would only get £500 to £600.”

Mr Sadler said there had been a boost in donations after the Newbury Weekly News covered the story and the girls received a letter from the mayor of Newbury Elizabeth O’Keeffe wishing them luck

Selina’s grandfather Steve Sadler made the girls red coverall uniforms, similar to those worn by the flying paramedics, for the challenge.

He said the girls had been “absolutely fantastic” and he was “so proud of my little granddaughter and Esme and my daughter-in-law”. 

Esme’s father Paul Stannard said his daughter, who a year ago would not have talked to anyone, had loved the event.

He added that it had helped the girls have a sense of normality after the lockdown.

He said: “The girls loved it and the attention.

“For her to come out and see people is absolutely amazing.

“You would never know these two had hypermobility.

“They know it’s for a good cause. 

“We can’t believe the response we have got.

“People from our work or who don’t even know my daughter have said ‘it’s for a good cause, go for it’.

“Even if this is enough for one flight that’s one life they can save or help.”

TVAA director of fundraising Neil Harman said: “It’s fantastic.

“It’s great to see the community come out during lockdown in support of the Thames Valley Air Ambulance.

We have been really hit during Covid-19 and a lot of events have been cancelled.

“To see the community coming together is much appreciated and needed to keep us on the frontline of providing critical care. 

“They have got their own mobility issues.

“It just shows how brave the community are.

“It’s a credit to them and thank you from TVAA.” 

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