HTM’s Head Of Development Covered Over 350 Miles In 5 Days In Support Of Help For Heroes.

Between June 11 and 16, HTM’s Danny Thorn completed the Help For Heroes Big Battlefield Bike Ride Ride 2023, covering over 350 miles in 5 days across northern France and into Belgium. Whilst the event involves a lot of cycling, it’s real purpose is about remembering those that have fallen and raising awareness around the support needed for those who leave the army with mental or physical health problems.100% of Help For Heroes money is raised through fundraising, which is why events such as these are so important for the charity.

“Over the 5 days we cycled from Etretet to Dunkirk stopping in Dieppe, Le Touquet, Bethune, Ypres along the way, following the route of the British Expeditionary Forces along the front line. In between we also had regular stops at battlefield sites and war cemeteries with guides who gave vivid descriptions of the battles that occurred and people involved,” Danny explained.

“In Le Touquet and Dunkirk we had moving remembrance ceremonies with a bugle and bagpipe player travelling with the event, who gave a moving rendition of the last stand. In Ypres we attended the nightly town remembrance ceremony and Menin Gate. A truly humbling experience.”

Over 100 riders took part including many ex-servicemen and women, including one with one leg, a blind man on a tandem, people in recumbent cycles, someone on a penny-farthing and many who have been supported by Help for Heroes. This event was all about camaraderie and helping others along, many of whom were not regular cyclists and were only riding for the event.

“There was a lot of fun along the way, with day 2 a fancy dress day with everyone cycling in Hawaiian outfits – quite a sight to behold and certainly drew some interesting looks! Every evening we had meals together, one or two pints (or more for some) with regular food and drink stops during the day,” continued Danny.

“I was cycling with a group of friends, 3 of which were ex-servicemen and one still serving and got to meet some great characters and hear some interesting stories from many others.”

The grand finale was over 100 riders in a large peloton cycling from Dunkirk Cemetery to the beach and all along the promenade to the far end, in sight of The Mole, where the majority of soldiers were shipped away from the beaches, being clapped by sunbathers and locals.

This was an incredible experience for all involved. You don’t need to be a serious cyclist to get involved, although a road bike is recommended. The average pace was only 10 miles an hour with stops every 15-25 miles. If you’d like to get involved next year a link will be shared when registration opens.

Thank you to everyone who donated and the companies that supported this event and helped raise £6,651.41 for Help For Heroes.

It was that good, Danny is signing up again for next year’s event, which is a 4 day ride from Normandy cycling down into the centre of Paris, celebrating 80 years since its liberation.

Danny will be doing another big challenge, similar to the 24 hour bike ride this year, as part of the fundraising, so watch this space!

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