A MEDAL winning Olympian has handed over the keys to the winner of the Great North Air Ambulance Service’s annual car raffle.

Equestrian rider Nicola Wilson, who took silver in the team eventing competition at the summer games, presented the Ford Fiesta to Alan Wade, 72, of Ingleby Arncliffe, near Northallerton, at Sedgefield Racecourse today.

The retired highways worker and his wife Venetia bought twenty tickets at £1 each.

The couple, who have one son, are already members of the charity’s weekly lottery and have won prizes of £100 and £25 in the past.

However, winning the car, which was donated by Roflow Environmental Engineering, came as a total shock.

“I just couldn’t believe it. In some ways, I still can’t,” said Mr Wade. “We are just waiting for it to sink in.”

Ms Wilson, who is from Morton-on-Swale, near Northallerton, said: “It was lovely to be asked to present the prize.

"I am a supporter of the Great North Air Ambulance and I know how important the service is to rural communities, and horse riders in particular, so I was only too happy to help. Congratulations to Mr Wade.”

This year, 126,700 tickets were sold for the raffle. An additional £17,332 was donated along with the tickets, making a total of £144,032, nearly £18,000 more than the previous draw.

Ruth Davey, of GNAAS, who organised the raffle, thanked everyone for their support. “The money will be spent on flying missions throughout our region, and will make a real difference in the life-saving work of our crews,” she added.