On 3 September, disabled athletes from the Combined Services Disabled Ski Team will cycle from Edinburgh Castle to the Tower of London. Their aim: to raise £20,000 to send serving and veteran skiers to the 2018 Winter Paralympics. The team, accompanied by riders from Team sponsors, Selex ES, will arrive in London on the eve of the Invictus Games on 9 September.
Ex Royal Signals Sergeant Mick Brennan is among those taking part. He made his Paralympic debut at the Sochi Winter Games in March 2014. Jamie Hull is also riding, and will be taking part in the Invictus Games the following week in the Cycling events.
Bryn Parry, Co-Founder of Help for Heroes said, "Since its launch in 2007; thousands of people across the UK have joined in and together, created the Help for Heroes phenomenon. People have run, climbed, cycled, swum, parachuted, baked, in fact done just about anything honest and decent to raise money to support our blokes. The money raised is all used to provide direct, practical support to those wounded in the service of our country.”
Royal Naval veteran Jamie Weller, who is blind, will be riding a tandem bike along with Captain Jen Kehoe, the Team’s Performance Manager. Jamie Weller said, "The loss of my sight was a real shock to me. However I have always been keen to do a challenge so jumped at the chance to ski. Having a guide be my eyes on the slope has enabled me to rise to the challenge.
"Being part of the Team has given me back a sense of purpose and given me back that competitive spirit once again. The support they provide me is unique and professional. I am hoping to go as far in competitive ski racing as I can.
The Combined Services Ski Team supports wounded, injured and sick service people and veterans by introducing them to alpine ski racing. From novice skiers to Paralympians, the aim is to develop individual talent and skills to enable athletes to reach their skiing potential as well as accelerate their physical and mental rehabilitation".
The Team’s Chairman, Brigadier Fred Hargreaves OBE, said, "Adaptive skiing changes people’s lives, giving wounded, injured and sick Servicemen, Servicewomen and veterans the opportunity to regain their sense of adventure, confidence and competitiveness.
"As a wholly volunteer-run charity, it is essential that we raise funds for the Combined Services Disabled Ski Team to lay on the frequent training sessions across the UK and Europe, and to buy and maintain the specialised adaptive equipment required for international competition".