Over the weekend (11-12 July 2009) Bankstone led a flotilla of 15 monkey bikes 250 miles round famous film locations in Yorkshire, raising money for the Yorkshire Air Ambulance service (YAA). At each of 10 stops along the way they donned costumes appropriate to the famous films in question.

Leaving Bankstone’s Brighouse offices at 9am on Saturday 11 July, the convoy first rode to Halifax’s Piece hall to re-enact the  Floral Dance’ scenes from Brassed Off dressed as bandsmen and miners.

The YAA’s mascot, a seven-foot bear called Bernie, came along for the ride, and posed with riders at each of the ten stops. This involved a naked lady (suit) at Ilkley’s Cow and Calf rocks, Robin Hood and merry men at beauty spot Aysgarth falls, WWII pilots at Northallerton, vets in Thirsk and so on (see list of locations below, shown with approximate actual times of arrival).

The convoy reached overnight-stop Scarborough around 6pm‚ a mere three hours behind the original schedule‚ not that bad given that guiding 15 rugged individualists round the UK’s largest county on monkey bikes is a bit like herding cats‚ then made four further stops‚ including Whitby for Dracula and Goathland for Harry Potter‚ before finishing up pitch side at Elland Road for The Damned United and arriving back at Bankstone’s Brighouse headquarters in time for Sunday tea.

A somewhat saddle-sore Bankstone Director Dickon Tysoe commented: “What a weekend!
We’ve made good progress towards our target of raising £10,000 for the YAA and donations are coming in fast. In the process we rode through some of the best scenery Yorkshire has to offer under almost perfect weather conditions. We passed through gritty mill towns, over cobbles, up hill, down dale, crossing and re-crossing rivers, over bleak moorland, past rocky crags, dodging loose sheep and winos, slowing for horses and cyclists, getting lost, getting found, and generally riding over 250 miles on motorbikes small enough to fit in the boot of most cars.

“We saw monumental reminders of the area’s industrial past, ruined abbeys, beaches, fishing ports, picture postcard villages, stately homes, market towns, and even the inside of a football stadium (“Don’t touch the turf!”). Highlights included one rider left standing as his bike set off without him, the struggle up Sutton Bank, the lady at Goathland station who paid a pound for a bear hug, fresh strawberries at the Piece Hall, and horns worn out from tooting at pedestrians! As we did last year, we will be posting a video on You Tube as soon as we’ve finished editing it and there will be a gallery on Flickr. We will continue to accept donations for the rest of the year, so please dig deep and help us keep the air ambulance flying.”

The Piece Hall, Halifax Brassed Off Sat 9.30 am
Cow & Calf, Ilkley Calendar Girls Sat 11.00 am
Aysgarth Falls, Aysgarth Robin Hood Prince of Thieves Sat 12.30 pm
The Golden Lion, Northallerton The Way to the Stars Sat 3.00 pm
Herriot Museum, Thirsk All Creatures Great and Small Sat 4.00 pm
Coffee Bean Cafè, Scarborough Little Voice Sun 9.00 am
Whitby Abbey, Whitby Dracula Sun 10.00 am
Goathland Station, Goathland Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone Sun 11.00 am
Castle Howard, Brideshead Revisited Sun 12.00 pm
Leeds United, Elland Road The Damned United Sun 2.00 pm

Taking part along with Bankstone were motorcycle hire and repair firm BLD, Premier Medical Group, Car Crash Line, Copart, Easy Rider and The Davy Group.

Anyone who would like to support this unique charity fundraising exercise can visit charity donations website Just Giving (see www.justgiving.com/monkeymoviestars).

Paul Gowland, fundraising director of YAA, comments “It costs us £7,200 per day to keep our helicopters and highly trained paramedics in the air. Monkey Moviestars is certainly one of the more unusual fund raising initiatives we have seen! Our sincere thanks go to Dickon and his team for their continued support of our life-saving charity”

For more on Yorkshire Air Ambulance click here.

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