Hays Travel staff are taking part in a cycling challenge to raise £8,000 to send a six-year-old girl to Walt Disney World Resort in Florida after her father died in a road crash.

Staff from eight branches of the travel agency are joining firefighters from Middlemoor Fire Station in Exeter, Devon, on September 13 and 14.

Amelie Aitken was rescued by firefighters from the Exeter group of the Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue service in May this year but her father died at the scene of the crash.

They will be using exercise bikes in their branches along the route from Exeter to Basingstoke – where the family were travelling to at the time of the crash – to match the firefighters’ 150 mile bike ride.

So far they have raised almost £5,000.


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Hays Travel is sponsoring the team to do the two-day ride but hope to raise more cash by cycling in their branches in Exeter St Thomas, Honiton, Sidmouth, Tiverton, Yeovil, Salisbury, Topsham, and Basingstoke at the same time.

Mandy Sousa, manager of the Hays Travel Foundation, said: “We got involved because it is a great cause, and Hays’ ethos is helping children through the Hays Travel Foundation.

“But also our branches are encouraged to help within the local community. The journey the firefighters are travelling passed a number of our branches, so this is a great way to get them all involved.

“The job of a firefighter is extremely high pressured and we can only imagine the tragedies they come across. They are going above and beyond their duties to help Amelie get to Disney and it has been our pleasure to be involved.”

Hays Travel branches each get a yearly budget to sponsor fundraising activities to support those in need in their local community.

Daniel Lampard, firefighter from Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue service, said: “We are genuinely overwhelmed by the generosity and enthusiasm towards our challenge. For Hays Travel to be so generous without being directly involved in the accident is just amazing. When I got the initial call from Mandy it genuinely brought a tear to my eye. I honestly can’t thank Hays Travel enough for what they’re doing.”

Visit the team Just Giving page here to donate.