A POPULAR motorcycle run which attracts thousands of riders while raising vital cash to keep an air ambulance flying has been cancelled in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

Every year, motorcyclists take part in the 60-mile Essex and Herts Air Ambulance Motorcycle Run, from Dunton to Harwich.

They do so with the central aim of raising money to keep the air ambulance flying.

The service operates as a charity and relies on public goodwill to stay airborne.

Last year’s motorcycle run marked the event’s 20th anniversary, attracting 3,500 riders and raising £40,000.

This cash was enough to fund 18 potentially life-saving missions.

But the charity has decided to call the 2020 run off.

It was due to take place on September 13.

A spokesman said the decision to cancel was made to protect both the riders and the public from the threat of Covid-19.

He said: “Following government advice regarding social distancing measures due to Covid-19, we have made the difficult decision to cancel this year’s event in order to protect our valued riders, the public and our team.”

He added: “The event is one of the days that EHAAT staff and volunteers love being part of.

“We have a really good relationship with the bikers who attend and the people of Harwich make us really welcome.

“There is a lovely atmosphere in the town.

“Subject to operational requirements, one of the helicopters lands on the beach and the crew always enjoy showing people the aircraft and talking about their work.”

Despite the cancellation, the charity recently launched an appeal for protective equipment which attracted £50,000 in just four weeks.

The spokesman said: “People have rallied behind this life-saving service and continued to support us during the pandemic.

“We are immensely grateful.”

Organisers have vowed to bring the event back in 2021, with plans for a virtual motorcycle run also set to be announced in June.

Participants who wish to arrange a refund, or to donate the cost of their place, should call 0345 2417 690 or email events@ehaat.org by August 28.