Big-hearted bakers took on a mountainous challenge in aid of the Wales Air Ambulance.

The team from the Village Bakery took part in the gruelling Three Peaks Race and raised more than £1,500 for the life-saving service.

The race requires participants to reach the top of the highest peaks in England, Scotland and Wales.

They climbed all three of them, Snowdon (1,085 metres), Scafell Pike in the Lake District (978 metres) and Ben Nevis (1,344 metres) in 25 hours.

As well as the climbing, it involved more than 10 hours in a minibus, eating at strange times, walking through the night and hiking over rough ground.

The challenge was the idea of Andy Ellis and his partner, Susan Woods, who both work at the family firm’s bakery in Minera, along with former workmate Tomomi Ueda.

They were joined fellow Village Bakery staff Jake Longsworth, Damien Jones and Phillip Lancelotte who drove the minibus.

The money was presented to Lynne Garlick, the Wales Air Ambulance’s fund-raising manager in North Wales.

The charity has carried out more than 25,000 missions since it was launched on St David’s Day in 2001, with each one costing £1.500.

From its airbases in Llanelli, Caernarfon and Welshpool, an air ambulance can be anywhere in Wales within 20 minutes of an emergency call.

A fourth aircraft was launched in Cardiff last year for its Children’s Wales Air Ambulance operation, providing neonatal and paediatric transfers.

Andy said: “We do a lot of walking in Snowdonia and I had always wanted to do the Three Peaks Race and the rest of the team all agreed to give it a go so I got in touch with the Wales Air Ambulance.

“If you get in trouble when you’re out on the mountains they are the ones most probably who will be sent to pick you up so they were the obvious choice for us.

“We were very proud that we did it in just over 25 hours and we have raised more than £1,500 for a very good cause so it was worth all the effort.”

Susan recalled: “It was really hard.  Ben Nevis was really, really tough because it was raining and the best one to climb was Scafell Pike.

“But Snowdon was just a killer from the start to the end – I was tired by then, mainly through sleep deprivation.

“However, I did enjoy it although at the time I was saying that I’d never do it again.”

Damien also felt a real sense of achievement and said: “I do regular walks with Andy and Sue so I know Snowdonia well but it was my first time doing the Three Peaks.

“The weather wasn’t brilliant and it was harder than I thought it was going to be.

“The worst bit was going up Ben Nevis because the weather was terrible.  It was raining non–stop.  The best bit was when we got to the top and you could see the scenery.  It gave you a really good feeling.”

“The Wales Air Ambulance is saving lives every day and very often it’s called out to Snowdonia so hopefully we have done our bit to help them save even more lives.”

Driver Phil joked: “Despite my driving they all got back alive!”.

Bakery manager Tom Breeze said: “I am extremely proud of them all getting together and taking on and completing this challenge.

“We are one big team and it’s fantastic that they’ve done this together, while their workmates in the bakery have also donated which shows how generous the staff are at the Village Bakery.”

Lynne Garlick said: “We are extremely grateful to the team at the Village Bakery for this generous donation which is very much appreciated.

“The service we provide can greatly improve a patient’s survival and early recovery thanks to fast response times, our ability to reach difficult locations and give, rapid critical care treatment on scene before flying patients to the most appropriate hospital for their illness or injury.

“We don’t receive any funding from the Government or the National Lottery so we rely entirely on charitable donations to raise £6.5 million each year to keep the helicopters flying for Wales.

“In 2015, we introduced flying doctors on board our aircraft through a new scheme with the NHS, called EMRTS Cymru and this means we can provide even more advanced treatments, including blood transfusions and anaesthesia.”

Village Bakery managing director said: “I take my hat off to all of them for completing this immense challenge to raise money for such a worthwhile cause.

“We are very fortunate that we have some brilliant, kind-hearted people working here and the Three Peaks team have certainly gone the extra mile – and then some.”