Help for Heroes supporter, Stuart McCurry, will take part in his 10th consecutive Big Battlefield Bike Ride in June, to help support our Veterans.
Stuart, who lives in rural Buckinghamshire, first rode in our Big Battlefield Bike Ride as a way of “doing something different to golf”, and the experience soon turned into a must-do event.
He said: “I don’t know what made me sign up. But I needed to do something different. I was looking for a challenge outside of work, and I wanted to enjoy the craic with people.”
Stuart’s first BBBR saw more than 300 supporters ferry from Portsmouth to Normandy, before cycling to Paris.
His first experience of the event was “sore and tiring”, but the bug had caught on, and he has signed up every year since.
“It was something that I never thought I would do, but seeing some of the guys who had been injured, and speaking to supporters who had family on the frontline, made me realise what a good cause it all is. I really felt very humbled to be involved,” he said
He was particularly struck by the camaraderie and comradeship between participants, and the emotion many feel during battlefield and cemetery visits. But he said the feeling of achievement at the end of a ride could not be beaten.
“There have been times when the weather has been absolutely miserable, but you use your time to help people get through it, and in return, when you have nothing left in the tank, that is when you get picked up.
“It's always an emotional scene at the end of each ride, and especially when we arrive back in the UK, where you see riders welling up and hugging their families. Somehow though, I walked straight past my wife, I just didn’t recognise her!”
The end of the 2010 BBBR also left an impact on Stuart. The participants grouped on Dunkirk beach, waiting for a Royal Naval Landing Craft to take them home.
He imagined the scene of the miraculous escape in 1940, and said it was a moment that stayed with him.
“We were all sat on the beach, waiting to be collected. It just felt like we were there, and when the Spitfire flew over it really gave it a sense of occasion.”
Each year the supporters travel through Northern France and Belgium, visiting the sights of some of history’s most pivotal battles.
The routes and locations change each year, bringing a fresh sense of excitement to those who regularly sign up.
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