Event: May 2013
Hero Ride, Help for Heroes’ latest fundraising challenge, will be arriving in to Central London on Sunday 2 June following a week full of money-raising efforts across the country. Over 1,500 cyclists will congregate in Blackheath, following their own individual charity bike rides, to cycle the final ten miles to the finish line at Horse Guards Parade.
Hundreds of bike rides have taken place in the lead up to Sunday’s finale. The first was the Big Battlefield Bike Ride which saw 300 cyclists ride over 350 miles from Paris to London. The large group of fundraisers, including, British, American and Canadian wounded Servicemen, women and Veterans, were waved off by the Duchess of Cornwall at Les Invalides when they set off on Tuesday 28 May.
In another gallant feat, the Dawn Raid cycle challenge will see 250 cyclists leave the Help for Heroes Tedworth House Recovery Centre in the early hours of Sunday morning. The riders will pedal 90 miles through the night, departing at 2am in order to meet with the other cyclists at Blackheath for the final ride in to central London.
Led by a large cohort of wounded veterans and service personnel from the UK, USA and Canada, the 2013 Hero Ride will be the biggest cycling demonstration of national support for the wounded this country has ever seen.
This year, the Hero Ride will be particularly poignant given the recent murder of Drummer Lee Rigby in Woolwich.
Bryn Parry, Co-Founder of Help for Heroes said: “There has been an extraordinary public reaction to the murder of Drummer Lee Rigby last week. For many, that desire to show support has been focused on doing good to counter the bad. Help for Heroes has been the unexpected focus of this national outpouring of support.
“This year’s annual Hero Ride will see 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.
“Those who have been affected in the line of duty may be young now but they will grow old and will need our support long after the wars have ended.”
The Duke of Cambridge, whilst attending the opening of the Help for Heroes Recovery Centre Tedworth House last week, said: “The Hero Ride finishes in London on 2nd June, and it looks set to be a very fun and visual way of demonstrating of how important adaptive sport is in recovery. Very good luck to all of you.”
Hero Ride activity is not just taking place on the roads, Virgin Active health clubs across the country have been offering the opportunity for members to get involved in their local club’s Hero Ride activity, such as group static cycle events or boot camp training sessions, with all funds raised being donated to Help for Heroes.
Paralympian and Help for Heroes Patron Jon Allan-Butterworth, who was severely injured whilst serving in Iraq in 2007 and has been supported by the charity since, said:
“I’ve seen first-hand how funding raised for Help for Heroes can change people’s lives, it happened to me, and Hero Ride provides an opportunity for the British public to get behind our troops whilst also challenging themselves to do something different.
“Despite the landscape changing for our troops as we withdraw from Afghanistan, the support for this great cause cannot stop. It would be a fantastic show of solidarity for as many people as possible to support those involved with Hero Ride by fundraising or lining the streets of London on Sunday.”
Help for Heroes patron and professional road cyclist, Mark Cavendish, who will be in London on Sunday to support the riders as they crossed the finish line, said:
“I definitely know about how much training and dedication has to go in to a cycling event like Hero Ride – you have to be dedicated and all of the cyclists taking part on Sunday have a great cause in Help for Heroes that they’re fighting for.
“The fantastic part of Hero Ride is that before the big event that the public get the chance to see in central London, each rider has completed their own personal challenge. Some cyclists are coming in from Paris, some straight from Wiltshire at the crack of dawn and that is a real achievement.”
Peta Todd, fiancée of cyclist Mark Cavendish and patron of Help for Heroes since 2008, who will be participating in Hero Ride, said:
“I have supported Help for Heroes since it started and took part in their first ever cycle ride back in 2008, as well as a couple more since, so it’s great to be doing it again. Hero Ride will be a true show of support, the biggest cycling fundraiser that has been done to date and I really hope the public get behind us at The Mall as we head towards the finish.
“Everyone taking part in Hero Ride is taking on their own personal challenge, they have been training hard for this event in support of our wounded and it would mean 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.”
Help for Heroes Patron Lorraine Kelly, who will be on hand to provide support to the participants on Sunday said:
“Sunday will be such a wonderful day and a great display of support for our wounded troops. Help for Heroes has such a large following and we hope that those supporters come out to join us in central London to support the cyclists that have completed such a great achievement in order to raise as much money as possible for our wounded.”
Help for Heroes Patron, who met some of the troops participating in Hero Ride in training, Jeremy Clarkson said: “My daughter and wife are both participating in the Hero Ride on Sunday and have been training hard and fundraising as much as possible for Help for Heroes in the lead up to the big day.
“I want to say good luck to everyone that’s involved, you’ve done a fantastic job to support such a brilliant cause for our heroic men and women who fight overseas for our country. I hope to be there at the finish line in London to welcome everyone home.”
For anyone wishing to donate to the Hero Ride, text ‘RIDE’ to 70900 to donate £5 to Help for Heroes. You will be charged £5 plus your standard network rate. Mobile Text Telephone helpline: 01494 750 500.
To find out more about Hero Ride activity at Virgin Active Health Clubs, please visit your nearest club.
To register interest for future Help for Heroes fundraising events and 2014 Hero Ride, please visit: www.heroride.org.uk