This week, wounded Servicemen, women and veterans are taking part in a week of cycling challenges, calling at cenotaphs and memorials en-route as part of their recovery, in recognition of those who paid the ultimate sacrifice in WW1. Fifteen of our Heroes are taking part in the week of rides that range from 34 miles to 100 miles per day with wreath laying ceremonies conducted at memorials along the route.
Those taking part in the ride are at varying stages of the recovery pathway. Veteran Justin Henderson, 39, from York loved his job as a Royal Logistics Corps postal courier and was devastated when a freak accident while stationed in Germany left him with a broken back and limited mobility. But Justin didn't let that stop him. He now works as a part time receptionist at our Help for Heroes Recovery Centre, Phoenix House and his fractured L5 vertebra has been replaced with a prosthetic vertebra meaning that this week he is able to take part in Centenary Ride – a week of cycling challenges taking place from the centre.
Centenary Ride 2014 is Justin’s first official ride on his new recumbent bike, and will be his furthest. Justin said; “I often cycle to work now, but that isn't far. The most I have ever done is 10 miles before and this is 34 - so quite a jump! When I look back to getting my injury I never thought I’d be on a bike today”.
On Tuesday 4th November the bike ride started from the Durham Light Infantry Museum where members of the Durham Light Infantry met with current serving and recent veterans for coffee and a service of reflection at the memorial stone on site. There were smiles all round as stories were shared and bikes shown off to the wonderful members of the Durham Light Infantry who gave up their morning to come and show their support for our boys and girls.
The ride is part of the Rolling Recovery Programme run by Help for Heroes Recovery Centre, Phoenix House which forms part of the Defence Recovery Capability. The weekly programme of activities seeks to inspire, enable and support wounded individuals during their recovery, or enrol them on a specific training course.
Mo Usman, Centre Manager of the Help for Heroes Recovery Centre, Phoenix House said, “Recovery activities like the Centenary Ride combine a physical challenge, and the opportunity to socialise and build confidence by meeting inspirational people like those from the Durham Light Infantry with time to reflect on a historical moment that has such resonance for our boys and girls. For our Heroes and their families, the battle continues.”