Cyclists roll up with cash

ALEX FENSOME
Last updated 05:00 26/05/2012

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A peleton rolled into Invercargill yesterday at the end of a gruelling one-day $10,000 fundraising cycle ride.

The group rode from Frankton to Invercargill to raise funds for the Lakes District Air Rescue Trust, the local recipient of the nationwide Westpac Chopper Appeal.

A light dusting of snow lay on the ground when they rolled out of Frankton.

The group was exultant and greeted by a large group of family and colleagues when they pulled into Westpac's branch in Kelvin St, in central Invercargill, about 4.15pm.

Westpac area manager Andrew Moreton said the group raised around $10,000.

"It could be the start of an annual event. There were a lot of people wanting to join us – it could the the start of something."

The riders stopped at schools in Garston, Limehills and Winton to collect donations, he said.

Cycling Southland chief executive Nick Jeffrey said the ride was 300 per cent longer than anything he had attempted before and he was jaded, but satisfied at the finish.

The trust provides training and equipment to enable local chopper rescue crews to complete about 200 missions a year, including many life-saving flights.

The Southland Times' sports editor Nathan Burdon was one of the varied group that made the ride.

"The rescue chopper has been at the front of my mind lately because I know a couple who had to use it recently," he said.

"Without this vital emergency service, what turned out to be a positive result probably wouldn't have been."

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