Ru Marley with husband and wife paramedic team Louise and Wayne McKay

Ambulance surprise for superstar six-year-old

Paramedics say thank you for fund-raising effort

A six-year-old from Longhoughton who took on a mammoth fundraising cycling challenge throughout May received a surprise visit from his local ambulance service to say thank you.

After watching Captain Tom’s amazing 100th birthday challenge, Ruaridh (Ru) Marley was inspired to do his own – and set about cycling 50 miles throughout May with the help of mum Katrina and dad Tim, choosing North East Ambulance Service (NEAS) as the worthy recipient.

Initially Ru – who is hoping to cycle five miles every other day – had hoped to raise £1 per mile cycled but smashed his £50 target within the first day of his Justgiving page going live.

He cycled 101 miles and raised more than £1,400, including gift aid.

Katrina said: “With Captain Tom doing his challenge, he said he wanted to do something too and was adamant he wanted to raise money for the NHS. Captain Tom has obviously raised a tremendous amount for the national charity so we suggested he look at supporting a local one. 

“We know quite a few people connected to the ambulance service so we thought NEAS seemed like a great choice.”

After seeing what a remarkable effort Ru had put in to helping the service, husband and wife team Louise and Wayne McKay, who are both paramedics at NEAS and volunteer for the coastguard in their spare time alongside Tim, surprised Ru on one of his family cycling trips to say thank you at their local beach.

As well as receiving a goody bag from the service, including mini medic uniform, Ru was given a whistle-stop tour of the ambulance, and even had the chance to sound the horn.

“It was so nice that he chose to raise money for our service,” said Wayne. “Hopefully it’ll go to good use and he can see where his money has been spent.”

Louise added: “It was so lovely to see his face. We made his day and that’s such a good feeling.”

Katrina added: “He didn’t do it to be thanked, he just wanted to raise money and he is so proud to have raised so much for such a fabulous charity. It is those who work for the service that deserve our thanks. Tim and I are beyond proud of his achievement.” 

North East Ambulance Service’s Charitable Fund generally uses its donations to recruit and support its volunteers and fund life-saving equipment, such as defibrillators for local communities. In light of the coronavirus pandemic, the charity is also looking at how it can provide additional resources to support development, health and wellbeing for NEAS staff.

Douglas Taylor, who chairs the charitable fund committee, said: “We are incredibly grateful for the support from Ru and his family, and for the donations made to his Justgiving page.

“We appreciate any contributions from members of the public, no matter how small, and we will ensure that the funds raised will be used to recognise the significant contribution of the NEAS staff and volunteers during these difficult times and to help improve facilities for staff in the future.”

There is still time to support Ru’s Many Miles in May challenge. If you would like to donate, visit 

To find out more about North East Ambulance Service’s Charitable Fund, visit /get-involved/making-a-donation.aspx or email

Here's a video of Ru's surprise:

Ru Marley thank you video from North East Ambulance Service NHS on Vimeo.

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Copyright 2011 North East Ambulance Service Trust

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