Simon Dodd, who lives in Norfolk, has been working with Cambridgeshire-based charity Magpas Air Ambulance for the past seven months, saving lives across Cambridgeshire and the East of England 24/7.
After he went travelling, spending time in South America and doing a ski season in the French Alps, Simon wanted to find a job that combined his love of seeing the world with an interesting and exciting role. Joining the RAF aircrew did just that!
Simon explains, “I spent 10 years with the RAF in total. Three in training, and seven as a frontline chinook Loadmaster.
“I did three tours of Afghanistan—all including weekly medical emergency response team (MERT) standbys—and multiple exercises in America, Jordan and Corsica. On leaving 18 Squadron I was the Loadmasters Standards Officer.”
After a few years, Simon saw joining Magpas Air Ambulance as an opportunity to not only get back into aviation again, but to also join an organisation doing great things in the community. Magpas Air Ambulance is a charity that operates 24/7 to bring lifesaving medical care to the most seriously ill and injured patients across the region. The charity’s medical team is specially trained to provide treatments and procedures that are usually only available in a hospital, directly at the scene of the incident, and the aircrew ensure they get to their patients quickly and safely. They can also provide additional support at the scene and airlift patients to hospital if needed.
Talking about what he loves most about working with Magpas Air Ambulance, Simon says, “The thing that always amazes me is that I can be on shift working with medics and/or pilots I have never met before, yet due to our advanced training and capabilities, when the emergency phone goes off everyone works seamlessly together. We all fulfil our professional duties and therefore work as a team effortlessly.
“In addition, it’s always so heart-warming to see how many people and services come together to help someone who is having the worst day of their life. We regularly work with ambulance, fire and rescue and police crews at the scene of incidents—and every single person there has the patient’s best interests at heart.
“I feel so lucky to be able to do a job I love doing. I’m genuinely excited to start each shift with Magpas Air Ambulance.”
However, it’s not just Magpas Air Ambulance that Simon works for. He also has his own bike servicing business, which he started in 2017—born from a passion for cycling. Precision Cycles is a rolling bike workshop out of Simon’s converted van, and since moving to Norfolk he’s been slowly growing business for the second time.
So it was a match made in heaven when Simon discovered Magpas Air Ambulance’s upcoming fundraising event is The Big Wheels Challenge, where participants can cycle, skate or roll their way from 50–350 miles in June. Simon has even joined some of the charity’s clinicians and become one of the challenge's team leaders, encouraging anyone who joins his team to travel 250 miles. Talking about The Big Wheels Challenge, and why you should get involved and join his team, Simon explains, “I love cycling and enjoy a challenge, so getting involved with The Big Wheels Challenge was a no-brainer. I cycle a lot and want to hopefully inspire others to achieve their goal of completing the challenge with me.
“Cycling is such a great sport and good for the body and mind. If this challenge kickstarts someone's interest in cycling to go further, I think that would be amazing. Also, it's raising funds for such a great charity—it’s a win-win!”
Sign up for The Big Wheels Challenge (and get a free challenge T-shirt) today!