Fundraiser and cycling enthusiast, Ivan Chadwick has taken part in the Big Battlefield Bike Ride twice – having loved the experience in 2017 he returned to take on the epic five-day challenge in France again this year.
Ivan, who began cycling when he left the Royal Air Force having served for 16 years, wanted to support Help for Heroes through his passion, knowing the charity gives vital help to serving men and women and veterans: “It’s a charity that really means a lot to me, more so than ever after this most recent ride”.
To help boost his fundraising for the ride, Ivan rallied his family and community and got everyone involved by organising an event in his local pub. He sold tickets for the evening which included a Thai tasting menu and proved hugely popular, raising more than £1,000! Following its incredible success and the support from the guests, Ivan was happy to share his wisdom:
“I was very lucky, as my wife and her friends, one of whom is a Thai chef were happy to help with the cooking and preparation for the evening”. Ivan explained the food for the evening was also donated, meaning this didn’t incur a cost, and by contacting the pub first he was able to spread the word in advance to help sell the tickets, “Having reached an agreement with the Landlady of our local pub, she was happy to advertise the event for us”.
As well as making the evening enjoyable, Ivan was keen to offer lots of opportunities to fundraise and also ran a raffle: “We spoke to other business in the area and asked them to donate raffle prizes. We were surprised by how many donated and ended up with some fantastic things, including a Chinese take-away and some Muay Thai boxing lessons!”.
Ivan also capitalised on the busy pub atmosphere, holding his event on the same evening as an Open Mic Night - something which helped not only with footfall but also encouraged donations from other patrons. Even the song choices contributed to the evening's success: “I’m not sure if it was on purpose, but the first song that was played was ‘We Can Be Heroes’ by David Bowie, which was really fitting”.
To make sure everyone knew he was fundraising for Help for Heroes, Ivan contacted the Events Team so that they could register his event, and they sent him promotional items such as a banner and balloons to help decorate the pub.
Ivan said the event was ‘even better than he expected’, and was really pleased with his fundraising total, knowing the money raised will help wounded veterans and their families: “It’s an amazing charity, and the people who work there and are supported by the charity are not hidden behind the desks, but are out on the ground with the supporters!”.