Boston Spa – YAA Nostel Priory, Tuesday 12th October 2021, 65 miles

Steve Booker, Mike Bosomworth, Nick Hopkinson, Steve Pearson, Frank Turner, Steve Ward.
This was the day when the Wheelers were to ride down to the Yorkshire Air Ambulance HQ at Nostell Priory to hand over the funds raised on our charity rides back in Summer. Admission to the HQ was limited to 6 people and when the chairman had asked for volunteers, only 6 people had replied so that was neat. We had a time slot to meet so we had recce’d the route last week and hadn’t liked it much but today we had Steve Ward with us who is a bit more local to that part of the world and knew a few roads which we didn’t.
We needed to leave Boston Spa at 0815hrs so four of us turned up to find Mark there waiting to see us off. He had heard about Castleford or perhaps been before and didn’t fancy it much, so he went off in search of prettier lanes. We liked the send-off tho’ and the others left smartly on time and in nice conditions at 0815 and picked up Steve W and Steve P, also smartly on time, in Aberford. The route to Castleford was better than last week. I was a little worried about the time but Steve wasn’t and he was right. I had noticed a shortcut on the map of Featherstone but turned slightly early resulting in a short and easy off-road section. This took us close to our destination and having been asked to arrive between 10.15 and 10.30 we turned up at 10.25. So on time again.
We were greeted by Kieran and Sarah who made us very welcome and immediately provided coffee and tea whilst answering questions about the base and it’s activities. Kieran is a member of the staff and Sarah is a volunteer worker there who among other things, helps with fundraising at a variety of events. Whilst having coffee we were able to see on-screen the action in the control room, (they were having coffee too), but were interrupted with the news that a helicopter was about to take off. I’m glad to say this was not an emergency- it was just flying down to Oxford to update a few bits of kit. At 160 mph that wouldn’t take too long. We learnt that for some of the training sessions, the pilots have to go to Germany. So we watched this one takeoff and nearly fell over when the downdraft hit us causing a few blurry photos and then we were able to do what we had gone for and hand over a cheque to Kieran for £1012.60. Well done Wheelers. It is a good effort but it’s good that they have some wealthier sponsors because our contribution will keep those birds in the air for a couple of hours!
Going back inside we were shown some training mannequins which were seriously realistic and gave rise to some tasteless black humour when we were back at Nostell Priory Café for lunch.
Steve W’s return route was so good it almost seemed worth putting it on the runs list until we remembered that we had to go thro’ Castleford to get there. It began to rain, firstly enough to put on rain jackets and then enough to shelter in a bus stop. It continued until our planned break at Penny’s in South Milford where we arrived 4 mins after closing time, so not on time there. Although they were mopping the floor they kindly offered drinks and cake in the garden. This is not the first time they have done this for the Wheelers so thanks to them. Anyway, we took them up on the kind offer and since the rain had stopped we enjoyed drinks and cakes in the garden. As we left for Lotherton it began to rain again. We enjoyed that too. But not quite so much.
Thanks to the excellent company, Lotherton and then Aberford came round very soon and here we began to disperse with Steves P and W turning South. The original four said goodbye to Mike next and then Frank and I headed to Boston Spa leaving Steve B to ride solo back to the Wheelers home town.
It was agreed by all that the day had been a great success. We were deeply impressed by the activities of the YAA and very grateful to their staff for making us so welcome. The suggestion that we might have a fundraiser for them every year met with the unanimous approval of all those there.
We all had photos that will flood the What’s app site and Steve B has sent me a few of his. Thanks to all.

Nick