Latest News, Media & Press 2022-Q2

Latest Borderland Rotary News and activities

Midlands Air Ambulance flight teams

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Borderland Rotary reinstate Memorial walk on the canal

Borderland Rotary held the Brian Gray Memorial Walk (and lunch) on Sunday having missed the last couple of years due to the pandemic and they were joined by friends and members of the Gray family. Brian Gray was the founder of Dairi-Pak Ltd in Ryton XI Towns and a very active member of Borderland Rotary, establishing and sponsoring the Dairi-Pak Mountain Bike Challenge (now the Borderland Mountain Bike Challenge) way back in 1994 and arranged many events and canal walks. Sadly, he passed away some years ago, but his legacies live on as the Borderland Mountain Bike Challenge was a great success back in May and now, once more, we can celebrate his life while walking the Montgomery canal, a place he loved so much.

Lt Col Carl Meyers talks about Headley Court Veterans Orthopaedic Centre

Borderland Rotary welcomed Lt Col Carl Meyers and Brian Kilty to talk about the new, Headley Court Veterans Orthopaedic Centre which is set to open this autumn on the site of the RJAH Hospital in Gobowen. Carl explained, “The centre will be the first to specialise in the care of Veterans in the UK and, I’m sure you’ll agree, that we as a society have a moral responsibility to look after the people who serve this country.” The centre has cost in the region of £6.5 million to build and equip and when complete will run within the framework of the local NHS Trust. Carl continued, “Raising money for a gold standard resource of this size is always difficult and we initially had a target of £1.5 million but quickly exceeded that and raised the full amount in a time frame that surprised us all. Of course, it meant that I could now concentrate on clinical matters which, as a long serving orthopaedic surgeon, I was better suited to than fund raising. I am thrilled that we are nearly at the end of this chapter but I feel we are not at the end of the story as we have further plans on the drawing board, but that’s for another day, I’d just like to thank Borderland Rotary for the support” The RJAH Hospital already conducts more joint replacement operations than anywhere else in Europe and the new facility will see these figure increase even more. 

Cathy Osselton, president of Borderland presented a cheque to Lt Col Meyers.

Borderland Mountain Bike Challenge a great success

The revamped Challenge, which was cancelled for the last two years, was a held last Saturday and seemed to be a resounding success, judging by the rider’s comments on social media after the event. 

Jonathan Jones, who has organised the event for many years said, “It all seemed to go pretty much to plan and we were blessed with perfect weather. Of course, lots of planning and work go into an event like this and we couldn’t do it without the help of Borderland Rotary members, their partners and friends and without the support of the local farmers and landowners we would have no course to ride. Our old and new sponsors, Dairi-Pk Ltd, Mule and AICO have also shared the load but most of all, I must thank all the riders for being so generous with their donations and their time”. 

The event started dead on 10am on Saturday morning in brilliant sunshine with riders rearing to go. Some of the more experienced riders dashed off into the hills and completed the 22 mile course in about an hour-and-a-half while others took their time and enjoyed the scenery and just being amongst like-minded folks in the beautiful foothills of the Berwyn Mountains. Jonathan continued, “It’s not so much a success for us as it is for the charities and groups we donate to, with the entrant figures up on the last time, we can give even more to support to the fantastic work of Midland Air Ambulance as well as local groups. All in all, a great day – thanks to all involved”.

Sporting the Challenge T-shirt

Roll up, roll up, roll up to the Borderland Mountain Bike Challenge

It’s your last chance to enter the Borderland Mountain Bike Challenge which will be held at 10am this Saturday 7th May starting from Rhwilas Village Hall SY10 7JH and if you have trouble finding it you can use the What3Word App that will take you right to the gates of the village hall. The words are: Deflection.ringer.enter.

Having missed the last two years for obvious reasons it was a chance to rethink the event and introduce new sponsors, a new logo, new website, and generally freshen things up but this couldn’t have happened without lots of help from lots of people.

Jonathan Jones, who organises the event said, “It’s been like doing it for the first time but thankfully we’ve had help from all directions, Russell Dilks built the website, Lucy Bryan-Smith designed the logo and Bill Dunphy from Signs Now did the new signs - and of course, we mustn’t forget our new sponsors, AICO and MULE and our long-time sponsor, Tim Gray from Dairi-Pak Ltd. I just think it would be great as a thank you to all those people to see a mass of riders enjoy the event and raise masses of money for Midlands Air Ambulance and other charities. I really hope to see you there.”

For more information, please go to and get involved.

Dairi-Pac still support the Borderland Mountain Bike Challenge

Tim Gray, Owner and Managing Director of Dairi-Pak explains the company’s involvement with the Borderland Mountain Bike Challenge … “My late father, Brian Gray was a lifelong cycling enthusiast and was keen for the Borderland Rotary Club to host this charity event. To help pay for the costs of organising and running the Mountain Bike Challenge he suggested that Dairi-Pak become the event sponsor.” He continues “These events take a lot of organisation and there are certain costs that can’t be avoided, such as insurance, the St John’s Ambulance to be in attendance and the food and drink for cyclists to enjoy on completion of the Challenge… Sponsorship means these fixed costs can be covered so every penny raised in sponsorship goes to the Air Ambulance and chosen local charities.” 

This is Borderland Rotary Club’s flagship event each year and they have raised hundreds of thousands of pounds in the 27 years of running the Mountain Bike Challenge. Rotary members not only organise the Event, you will see an army of Hi Vis clad Rotarians helping out on the day. Most importantly they man the marshal posts and drink/snack stations around the 22-mile route. This ensures riders are hydrated, energised, and importantly don’t need to get off their bike to open and shut gates.

Tim Gray said that the Mountain Bike Challenge will be bigger and better this year … “Lockdown afforded me some time to think about things other than business and family - so I got to thinking how we could develop the event. The route is fantastic and didn’t need changing, but with increased support and sponsorship the event could be ‘up-scaled’ and promoted to attract more riders and hence raise more money for charity. Dairi-Pak have been sole sponsors of the event for the past 28 years so inviting other community minded companies to become joint sponsors seemed like a good idea. Not only increasing funds available to host the event but to tap into the new sponsors’ enthusiasm and expertise. We are delighted to have Aico and Mule Cycles alongside Dairi-Pak as sponsors of the renamed and rebranded Borderland Mountain Bike Challenge.”

Along with the new name, the event has a new logo and website as it re-establishes itself on the MTB Calendar for many years to come.

Anyone wishing to ride the Borderland Mountain Bike Challenge on May 7th should visit the website and register

E-bikes welcome at Borderland Mountain Bike Challenge

In the past, e-bikes were frowned upon in the world of mountain biking but James Davies, the owner of Mule Cycle Shop in the main car park in Oswestry, says that the new generation of e-bikes are great machines and are now welcomed at most events. James, a staunch member of the local cycling community said, “I like the physical challenge of just rocking up to a mountain and cycling over it, but some people want the same result but have less energy available so the E-bike is definitely the answer because people are still getting exercise, fresh air and a sense of achievement with a little less puff. Covid has seen an explosion in cycling in general and e-bikes in particular. I hope we see lots of them at this year’s Borderland Mountain Bike Challenge in May.”

The Borderland Mountain Bike Challenge will be held on Saturday 7th May at 10am and there are spaces left. Just go to  All you need is a bike, a helmet and the heart of a lion! 

The 22-mile challenge takes the riders over green lanes and farm tracks, up and down the foothills of the Berwyn Mountains and is available to riders of all competence however, it’s not for the faint hearted as there is only about 300 metres of tarmac and probably no more than that on level ground.

Aico’s community spirit continues as they sponsor Borderland Mountain Bike Challenge

Borderland Mountain Bike Challenge is very pleased that AICO has joined Dairi-Pak Packaging and Mule Cycles as sponsors for this year’s ride on Saturday 7th May 22. The event, which was cancelled for the last two years, still starts from Rhiwlas Village Hall but now has a new logo and an increased limit of 300 riders.

Jane Pritchard, one of the two dedicated Community Liaison staff at AICO said, “We are delighted to be supporting the Borderland Mountain Bike Challenge this year. It has clearly been a great success and well attended over the years, raising substantial amounts of money for some very deserving causes. AICO, as market leaders in home life safety strive to deliver safer homes through engaging with communities to educate and promote best practice. Our Corporate Social Responsibility programme, ‘Aico in the Community’ was developed to provide support local and national educational and charitable organisations and help build sustainable futures for communities, focusing on four core areas: Education, Business Enterprise, Charity, Volunteering. We are always looking for opportunities to provide support to charities and build relationships with organisations who are also supporting good causes”.

Dairi-Pak Packaging have been involved in the Borderland Mountain Bike Challenge since it first started in 1994 and are also a long-standing supplier to Aico, so it made perfect sense for them to partner-up with regards to sponsorship and in helping to make this charity challenge an even bigger and better event.

Jane continued, “As we are already Corporate Partners of the Midlands Air Ambulance, Aico are delighted that a significant proportion of the funds raised from this event will be donated to this very worthy cause. 

We have been wanting to support the event for a few years, but like everything else, the pandemic has caused so much disruption. It is great that it is back at last. We are really looking forward to it.”

If you want more info about the challenge, go to:

Borderland Mountain Bike Challenge supports Midlands Air Ambulance

Borderland Rotary in Oswestry is raising money for Midlands Air Ambulance by holding the Borderland Mountain Bike Challenge in the foothills of the Berwyn Mountains, just west of Oswestry in North Shropshire on Saturday 7th May at 10am. We often look up to see the red Air Ambulance helicopters overhead but how many of us spare a further thought for how they operate and how they are funded? 

If you’re lying hurt or seriously ill and you need to get help fast, someone will call the Air Ambulance and they’ll be there in no time to give immediate support and get you to the most suitable hospital where treatment can continue.

On the 18th September 2021 it all became a reality for John, a local mountain biker, as he fell badly while in the hills. John said, “If it wasn’t for my mates quick thinking, mountain rescue and Air Ambulance, I think I’d still be on that mountain. I never thought I’d crash that badly, none of us do, but when it happens, we realise the value of these volunteers who so expertly patch us up before flying us to the nearest trauma unit. We are so lucky to have these services but they need funding, so that when the worst happens, they’re there. Unfortunately, I never got to thank the crew but I’m back riding now and hopefully by raising money in the Borderland Challenge, it will be a small thank you”.

Midlands Air Ambulance operate three Air Ambulance Helicopters and two critical care cars serving the communities of six Midlands counties: Gloucester, Herefordshire, Shropshire, Staffordshire, the West Midlands and Worcestershire. This constitutes the largest air ambulance operating region of the UK.

Since 1991, the charity has responded to more than 66,000 missions and who knows how many lives have been saved over that time.

It costs more than £10 million a year to maintain and fly the three aircraft based in the Midlands so the public, in our own interest, should be aware of these costs and maybe try to help by raising some money for one day we may be desperate for their help.

Why not become a sponsor, set a target and raise funds? Just go to  link.

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