The life of a “dynamic and friendly” Eryri search and rescuer has been remembered in an epic bike ride, which has raised more than £11,000 to help save lives.

Paul Hickson, 63, was a key member of South Snowdonia Search And Rescue Team (SSSART).

He served as its deputy leader until he died following a short illness in July, 2023.

His brother-in-law Rob Coldicott said Paul, who retired to Bala but was originally from London, was “an integral part” of the team and his passing was an “enormous loss”.

Rob said: “He touched so many lives and a few more people are walking around today thanks, in part, to his involvement with the SSSART.

“He was such a dynamic and friendly presence and was instrumental in the development of training new recruits, overseeing the team’s equipment and kit, and representing the team at national meetings and beyond.”

To honour Paul’s memory, Rob organised a 254-mile charity bike ride from London to Bala.

The cyclists approaching the lake at Bala. Photo: SSSART
The cyclists approaching the lake at Bala. Photo: SSSART (SSSART)

The ‘Tour de Paul’ took in key locations of Paul’s life and aimed to raise funds and awareness of SSSART’s vital work.

The tour started on Tuesday, 28 May at the Herne Hill Velodrome, London, via King’s College Hospital and The Emirates Stadium – Paul was a keen Arsenal fan.

Averaging about 50 miles a day over five days, the ride passed through Daventry, Birmingham and Shrewsbury, finally finishing at Bala on Saturday, 1 June.

Thirty cyclists took part, with 24 riding the final stage from Shrewsbury to Bala, with everyone successfully managing to climb the gruelling Milltir Cerrig pass over the Berwyn mountains. Seven riders completed the whole route, supported by a dedicated crew of four, who followed the tour in a couple of support vehicles.

Rob said: “We were led into Bala behind a mountain rescue vehicle, riding past Paul’s house and onto the lake, with the rescue team and our supporters providing an incredibly emotional and noisy reception with cow bells and all manner of pots and pans being used.

“After a celebratory drink some of the riders ended up cooling down in the lake! That evening we had an end of tour event, the Bala Gala, and around 50 of us celebrated a truly amazing five days.

“We stopped at Paul’s brothers and his parents’ house on the way.

“Apart from punctures and one serious mechanical failure in Birmingham - fixed at an amazing bike shop - there were no real issues and the event went smoothly.”

The event has raised more than £11,000 so far.

“We are keeping the fund open for a short while so people can still donate to this worthy cause.

“We cherish Paul’s memory, and will forever keep him in our hearts. He was an amazing man.”

SSSART operate in the South of the Eryri national park area, providing vital support to North Wales Police in the event of mountain emergencies.

People can still make a donation to the bike ride fundraising page. Visit