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A former director of the Charity is cycling from Land’s End to John O’Groats to raise funds for us.

Peter Smith, 68, served in the Army from 1973 to 2009, with another three years as a reservist, before working with us from 2009 to 2020.

Keen cyclist Smith, a former Lieutenant-Colonel with the Worcestershire and Sherwood Foresters Regiment, who now lives in Winterbourne Stoke, Wiltshire, explained: “This ride is an opportunity to give back. Firstly, as a veteran, because I think it’s important to support the wounded, injured and sick, and, also, because I had a good second career working for Help for Heroes.

“I’ve done a number of the charity bike rides: three fundraising ‘Dawn Raids’ – two from Tedworth House, Tidworth, and one from HMS Victory, in Portsmouth, where we cycled 100 miles overnight to the centre of London – and three Big Battlefield Bike Rides. I’ve been around a bit,” he laughed.

Smith finished his career with the Charity in 2020 as project and performance director. Now, he feels suitably refreshed and capable of taking on a challenge he’s long wanted to attempt.

He added: “I’d always had this challenge at the back of my mind as something I wanted to do. But, with work and family, I’ve never had the time. But now I’m retired, I’ve had the time to plan it and do it. I’m 68; my fitness is at a pretty good level; the plan is to do the route over 14 days, around 65 to 75 miles a day – and I think that’s doable.

Peter Smith, Fundraising for Veterans and their Families - Help for Heroes

“My problem is people who want to do this are generally much younger than me and I can’t keep up with them. And people of my age tend to be far more sensible – and why would they want to do it? I’m very lucky that a friend, Mike Griffiths, a former Army colleague, who’s about 10 years younger than me, has opted to do it with me.

“We’re going to carry everything we need with us, but we’re staying in B&Bs and hotels – we’re not going to camp – to ensure we have a good night’s sleep, which we will need.

“The aim is to get the distance done and then have enough time to rest, recover, have a good meal and a good night’s sleep to be ready to go the following day. Cumulative fatigue is what’s going to catch up with us, particularly in the later days when we’re in the Scottish Highlands.”

The cycling odyssey began on Wednesday, 4 May, and is scheduled to finish on Tuesday, 17 May.

Peter Smith’s itinerary is:

4 May – Land’s End to Fowey

5 May – Fowey to Crediton

6 May – Crediton to Loxton, near Weston Super Mare

7 May – Loxton to Dunhampton, near Droitwich

8 May – Dunhampton to Nantwich

9 May – Nantwich to Garstang, Lancashire

10 May – Garstang to Penrith

11 May – Penrith to Moffat, Scotland

12 May – Moffat to South Queensferry

13 May – South Queensferry to Pitlochry

14 May – Pitlochry to Aviemore

15 May – Aviemore to Bonar Bridge

16 May – Bonar Bridge to Portskerra

17 May – Portskerra to John O’Groats

Has Peter's fundraising inspired you to take on a challenge or fundraise for veterans and their families? Find out more below. 

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