Posted: 16 April 2015

From life-threatening accident to cycling 100 miles for charity

David Ayre, our Policy Officer, was involved in a serious car accident that threatened his life last year. Remarkably he is now planning a 100 mile charity bike ride, the Prudential RideLondon-Surrey 100!

I was on my way to surprise my mum in Merseyside from my home in London on the August bank holiday last year when I was involved in a multi-car pile-up on the M6.

Fortunately, I was the only person seriously injured.  I was close to Coventry Hospital which has amazing specialists, so I was lucky it happened where it did.

I had one big operation within 36 hours of the accident. With a broken neck, leg and collarbone, I was lucky there was no spinal cord damage or a severe head injury. 

It’s hard to describe but once the doctors had told me I was going to survive I decided that everything would be fine.

I focused on doing whatever I could to make sure I could get well as fast as possible. I was more concerned about the impact the accident would have on my friends and family and how upsetting it could be for them.

My long road to recoveryDavid on the road to recovery

After a three week period in hospital I spent two months recovering at home in Merseyside, and underwent physiotherapy at the Royal Liverpool Hospital. 

I was told I was recovering twice as quickly as anyone anticipated and I fought hard to get back to the best shape possible. The Doctors were fantastic and increased my physio workload so I could get better quickly. 

I have always been fit, so maybe that helps. I played rugby and football while at school and was on the athletics team, and my dad Billy Ayre was manager of Blackpool, Bury and Cardiff football teams, so we have always been a very active family.

The doctors told me cycling would be good for me to build my leg and thigh muscles, and by pushing myself and setting goals, it makes me feel that I’m getting back to where I should be.

I feel incredibly lucky to still be here and in the shape I am in, but there’s still a long way to go, emotionally and physically.

My next challenge: cycling 100 miles

Due to the fact I recovered in six months instead of the anticipated 12, I thought it only right that I put my newly healed body on the line. 

On 2 August I’ll be doing the 2015 Prudential RideLondon-Surrey 100, which is a 100 mile bike ride, to raise money for The Children's Society and the most disadvantaged and vulnerable children we work with. 

It will have been less than 12 months since the accident happened, so I hope you'll agree that this marks something of a personal achievement. I couldn't do anything about the accident, but I'm determined to do something now I've recovered. 

As ever, I'm setting myself a tough challenge and want to finish within 5 hours.

I've set up a Just Giving page and all of the money I raise will support the work of The Children's Society.

Olympic dreams are still alive

Before the accident, I had spent the last few years trying to get into the Olympics squad for the 100 metres. I was running it at around 11.5 seconds, and although it was an outside chance it was just something I wanted to do. 

I trained three hours a day, six days a week for the last two years and I want to get back into that - I recently had my first training session since the accident.

I appreciate that my chances of being in the Olympics are increasingly unlikely, but you never know!

I still find it really hard to talk about the accident. Getting over a massive trauma takes time but I believe if I set my mind to something I can achieve it. The RideLondon-Surrey 100 seemed like a great opportunity to both prove to myself that I can still achieve my goals and challenges, whilst raising money for a great cause.


Visit David’s JustGiving page and help him hit his fundraising target.

Feeling inspired by David’s story? Take part in a fundraising challenge. From family walks to marathons you’ll be sure to find the perfect event for you. 


By David Ayre - Policy team

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