Central London ground to a halt yesterday as over 1000 cyclists, along with hundreds of well-wishers and volunteers, rode from Blackheath to Horseguards Parade to bring Hero Ride 2014 to a moving climax.
During the week the Big Battlefield Bike Ride, with over 350 cyclists, had made its' way from Brussels to Paris (meeting Her Majesty the Queen along the way as part of the 70th anniversary of D-Day celebrations) before joining other UK rides in London on Sunday morning.
Official Help for Heroes routes with hundreds of cyclists arrived from Edinburgh, Manchester, Cardiff and Wiltshire, as well as scores of self-organised DIY rides from across the UK, all meeting at Blackheath.
Cycling legend Mark Cavendish has set off over a thousand riders this Sunday on their final ten miles as Hero Ride 2014, Help for Heroes’ latest fundraising challenge, culminated on the streets of London.
Over 1,000 fundraising cyclists rode into Central London yesterday following a week full of money-raising efforts across the country and the continent. The cyclists congregated in Blackheath, following their own individual charity bike rides, to cycle the final ten miles to the finish line at Horse Guards Parade.
At 14:00 on Sunday 08 June, the cyclists paused at The Cenotaph on Whitehall to lay wreaths and pay respects to those who have fallen or been injured in combat.
Accompanied by Mark and Peta Cavendish, they formed in the shape of the familiar Help for Heroes medal emblem, encompassing the Cenotaph and surrounding the monument with wounded veterans, servicemen and women.
Help for Heroes Patron Mark Cavendish said, “I know about how much training and dedication has to go in to a cycling event like Hero Ride – you have to be so disciplined and all of the cyclists taking part on Sunday have a great cause in Help for Heroes that they’re fighting for.
“I am delighted to have started the riders and joined them on their final ten miles into central London. I hope as many people as possible support the challenge, donate to Help for Heroes and celebrate each rider completing their own personal challenge.”
Hundreds of organised bike rides have taken place in the lead up to Sunday’s finale, all helping Help for Heroes reach their fundraising aim for Hero Ride of over £1 million.
On the back of the hugely successful event last year, Hero Ride 2014 saw organised routes from Brussels, Edinburgh, Manchester, Cardiff and the Help for Heroes Recovery Centre at Tedworth House, Tidworth.
One of the rides was the annual Big Battlefield Bike Ride, with 300 cyclists having ridden 335 miles from Brussels to Paris. The large group of fundraisers, including British, Australian, and Canadian wounded Servicemen, women and Veterans, as well as Mark’s wife Peta Cavendish have raised millions to date for our wounded, injured and sick Heroes and their families.
With 10,535 British men and women injured or struck down with sickness in the recent conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, and Combat Stress estimating that 40,000 Servicemen and women will suffer from some form of invisible injury over the coming years, Help for Heroes have stressed the importance of the £1 million fundraising target.
Help for Heroes Patron Peta Cavendish, who completed the 335 miles-Big Battlefield Bike Ride from Brussels to Paris, said: “I have supported Help for Heroes since the charity was founded and took part in their first ever cycle ride back in 2008 so it’s great to have done the Big Battlefield Bike Ride again.
“Hero Ride is a true show of support, the biggest cycling fundraiser that has been done to date and I really hope the public get behind us and donate.
“Everyone taking part in Hero Ride has taken on their own personal challenge, they have been training hard for this event in support of our wounded and it means so much to see people on the streets supporting us as well. I have witnessed the great work that Help for Heroes do to support those who have suffered life-changing injuries and illnesses and I want to do all I can to help raise as much as possible.”
Bryn Parry, Co-Founder of Help for Heroes said: “This year’s annual Hero Ride has seen hundreds of cyclists gather on the streets of London in the biggest national demonstration of support for our wounded heroes. The funds raised will be used to support the wounded and their families who have already given so much on our behalf.
“Soldiers, sailors and airmen who are injured today will still need our support tomorrow and in the days that follow, for the rest of their lives. They are still battling and we won't let them battle alone.”
BREAKING NEWS: First rides for Hero Ride 2015 released....if you are inspired by #heroride and want to take part next year, click here for details and to register your interest!