Sunday, 26 May 2024
Sunday, 26 May 2024

Friends cycling 400 miles in 24 hours for military charity

A group of six friends from Essex are cycling 400 miles in just 24 hours to raise money for Blind Veterans UK, the national charity for vision-impaired ex-Service men and women.

On June 16 the group, who have been friends since they met in primary school over 50 years ago, will head off from Berwick upon Tweed near the border of England and Scotland and they will aim to arrive back in their home town of Hatfield Peverel in Essex in just 24 hours. 

This fundraiser is a culmination of a 25-year cycling career for these friends who have raised just over £50,000 for various charities.

Paul Nicholas, who is 58, is the driving force behind the challenge and the main organiser. 

He said:

“My grandad served in the First World War and as a family, we would always watch the Remembrance Day Parade. I used to find it quite moving to see the veterans representing Blind Veterans UK, which was St Dunstan’s at the time, and for that reason, I have chosen to support the charity with this fundraiser. 

“The plan is for this to be our last bike ride of this scale as we are all getting a bit older now and the long rides are starting to take their toll on us.

“However once the pain subsides, there is always that chance we might change our mind!”

The riders will also be supported by a backup team who will need to stay awake for 24 hours.

Russell Ashby, who is part of that backup team, said:

“All of the riders and the support team live locally to the Swan Inn Public House in Hatfield Peverel where Chris Ward the landlord has always been hugely supportive of us all and our fundraising attempts.

“Chris allows us to hold events at the pub to boost our fundraising and we’ve already held a quiz night and a casino night as part of our fundraising for Blind Veterans UK. We also held a Coronation Day fundraiser with our ‘King for the King’ BBQ with an Elvis impersonator which was a huge success and raised around £2,000.

“Chris also helped us to arrange backup vehicles for this challenge, he has been incredible.

“The plan is that the cyclists, who are all members of the Peverel Velo Club, will be hanging up their bike clips after this ride which is their grand finale and they want to go out in style. They will be riding through the day and night to complete this incredibly difficult challenge.”

The team, made up of Paul Nicholas, Glen Harrington, Richard Howard, John Mouser, Jimmy Isaacs and Simon Cook, are hoping to raise £10,000 for Blind Veterans UK. If you would like to support them in reaching their fundraising target please visit: justgiving.com/fundraising/russell-ashby.

Blind Veterans UK supports thousands of blind veterans across the country but knows there are many thousands more who still need its support to rebuild their lives after sight loss.    

If you, or someone you know, served in the Armed Forces, including National Service, and are now struggling with sight loss, then please get in touch. Call 0800 389 7979 or visit: blindveterans.org.uk/support.

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