On Saturday, the Big Battlefield Bike Ride 14 arrived in Paris and a small group of the wounded and some fundraisers were honoured to meet Her Majesty The Queen. I took the opportunity to tell her that we had just passed the £200m point since we began in 2007. Her Majesty asked that her congratulations be passed to all those who have contributed to this extraordinary effort. Thank you for playing your part.
On Sunday, Emma and I were privileged to join over a thousand cyclists on the annual H4H Hero Ride. Some had cycled over the Peak District from Manchester, others had pedalled in from Edinburgh, Cardiff, Colchester, Tedworth, Brussels and from many other start points. There will have been a thousand different reasons for taking part but only one cause united us all; to support those who have been injured on our behalf.
One of the cyclists was Dean Bousefield. Dean, miraculously has survived being shot through the head. He cycled the whole way from Brussels to Paris, where he met the Queen. He had a crash on Day 3 and had to miss the last ten miles off that day while his recumbent bike was being checked over. The next day he got up very early and added an extra ten miles to his journey. On Monday we discovered that he had a broken thumb. If we needed an example of courage and fortitude; we have it personified in Dean.
When we formed up at The Cenotaph, Father Roger Dawson, our ‘Pedalling Padre’ and a former soldier, gave an address in which he spoke so movingly about the need to keep the flame alight. I couldn’t hope to add to his words so I include them here.
Passing the £200m point is a way marker on a very long journey. We have raised millions and used the funds to create an integrated support network that will enable many to regain independent and fulfilling futures. That support must endure long into the future. We understand that while the guns may fall silent, individual battles continue and we must ensure that those battles are not fought alone. We all join in the Act of Remembrance by saying ‘ We will remember them’ and now we must say ‘we will support them’. Remember the fallen, Care for the living.
We will need to raise millions long into the future so we need your continued support. Please keep going at all your fund raising and sign up for next year’s Hero Ride; bring your friends and family. Please also sign up to become a Friend of Help for Heroes and make a small donation each month. We need your support; our Heroes like Dean need your support.
Onwards and Upwards