A NEW team of first aiders on bicycles is being trained across Hampshire in order to swiftly get to those in need at large events.

The St John Ambulance Cycle Responders will be on duty at events such as festivals that cover a large area with dense crowds that make it difficult for vehicles to get to a casualty.

Each cycle responder rides a mountain bike kitted out with enough equipment to make it effectively a mini ambulance on two wheels.

It’s hoped that seven new cycle responders will be trained up this month, to join the existing team of 10.

South-east regional operational cycling officer Peter Leach said: “We already have a small team of cycle responders but there aren’t enough of them to cover the events for which we receive requests.

“We train them up to Bikeability Level 3 and also carry out some fitness training, including a 1km sprint bike ride followed by a full cardio pulmonary resuscitation (CPR), which is the energetic chest compression needed if someone’s heart stops.

“Each bike carries a huge variety of equipment, from bandages and aspirin to oxygen and an automatic external defibrillator (AED), which is also used to restart people’s hearts.

“We are always looking for new volunteers who want to be trained in this role – people who have a reasonable level of fitness and are already comfortable on a bike, and who would like to learn how to be the difference between a life lost and a life saved.”

Anyone interested in training to be a cycle responder should contact Mr Leach on 07747 766554 or email .