Wiltshire to host start of mass bike ride in aid of Help for Heroes

Wiltshire Times: Help for Heroes riders will pause at The Cenotaph in London on Sunday to pay their respects Help for Heroes riders will pause at The Cenotaph in London on Sunday to pay their respects

This weekend will see hundreds of cylists taking part in a ride from Wiltshire to London as part of the Help for Heroes fundraising challenge, Hero Ride 2014.

On Saturday fundraisers will join servicemen, women and veterans with life-changing injuries and illnesses on the Puffing Pedallers bike ride from the Help for Heroes Recovery Centre, Tedworth House in Tidworth to London.

At 2am on Sunday another 280 cyclists will set off from Tedworth House on the Dawn Raid sportive covering 100 miles in around eight hours.

Both rides culminate at Blackheath Common on Sunday morning where they join with more than 1,000 cyclists from all over the country.

From here the group will cycle into central London, led by wounded and injured riders, pausing at The Cenotaph on Whitehall to pay respects to those who have fallen or been injured in the service of our country.

Former Serviceman Chris Hawes, 40, is taking part in the Puffing Pedallers ride.

He said: “I was medically discharged in 2005. Since my leg was amputated in 2011 I regularly attend the gym at Help for Heroes Recovery Centre, Tedworth House. This year will be my first Hero Ride on a handbike and I am looking forward to it.”

Former Serviceman Chris Church, 32, is taking part in the Dawn Raid: “Despite the physical limitations my injury has caused me, I like to set myself ambitious targets and being involved in the Dawn Raid has given me something to focus my energy on now that I’ve left the army.”

Cyclists will be helping to support the 10,535 British men and women wounded, injured and sick during the recent conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Help for Heroes aims to deliver two key new projects this year: the Help for Heroes Hidden Wounds Psychological Wellbeing Programme (providing support for those with lower-level mental health issues) and an expansion of the Northern Help for Heroes Recovery Centre in Catterick.

Bryn Parry, co-founder of Help for Heroes, said: “This year’s annual Hero Ride sees cyclists from all over the country make their way to London where they will form the biggest national demonstration of support for our wounded heroes. 

"The funds raised will be used to support the wounded and their families who have already given so much on our behalf.”

“Soldiers, sailors and airmen who are injured today will still need our support tomorrow and in the days that follow, for the rest of their lives. They are still battling and we won't let them battle alone.”

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