In 2006, we learned of an incident that evoked many emotions for everyone involved in Devon Air Ambulance.

Teenager Tom Staniford had been out riding his bicycle and was hit head-on by a car; an almost identical story to that of Ceri Thomas which prompted the origins of the Devon Air Ambulance in 1992.

Tom, 17, died twice from the injuries he sustained in the incident, with our paramedics able to restart his heart twice while en route to the RD&E hospital. His injuries included a punctured lung, four broken ribs, a broken collar bone, lacerations to his knees and head injuries that included losing his front teeth, fracturing his eye socket and serious bruising to the brain.

After four months of gradual recovery, however, Tom began training again. He explained, “I was hurt so badly that to start with I could only do small walks, just trying to get my  mobility back. When I started back on the turbo trainer, my legs hurt so badly that I didn’t have the confidence to go out on the road. I had to take it really slowly.”

However, Tom worked tirelessly to build up his strength and, just one year later, he completed a 100km ride along the A377 raising money for DAA to say thank you to the people who had come to his rescue.

Once back in the saddle, Tom’s confidence continued to grow, and he has since raced for the Great Britain Deaf Cycling and Great Britain Para-Cycling squads. In 2011 he became the youngest ever solo British National Para-Cycling Circuit Race Champion, at 21. Alongside his cycling he also married Alice and attained two Law degrees, one in English and one in French! 

Tom is now a Digital Marketing Consultant and Strategist, working with everybody from individuals up to Blue Chip companies. He is also Director, with his wife Alice, of Cycle Engage UK, a non-profit organisation dedicated to promoting the many benefits of life on two wheels. The organisation also has its own elite women's racing team, who race nationally.

You can find out more about Cycle Engage UK and the work they do or follow them on Twitter.