Event: 2 June 2013
The biggest cycling show of support for our wounded this country has ever seen concluded today as over 1,300 Hero Ride cyclists crossed the finish line at Horse Guards Parade to fundraise for Help for Heroes.
Members of the public and Help for Heroes celebrity Patrons lined The Mall in support of the annual event, which has seen riders from all corners of the country stage fundraising bike rides, meeting en masse in Blackheath this morning before riding together into central London.
The 2013 Hero Ride cyclists, led by over 150 wounded veterans and service personnel from the UK, USA and Canada, paused to pay respects at the Monument to the Women of WW2 before riding in formation along The Mall towards Admiralty Arch to reach the finish line at Horse Guards Parade.
The 2013 Hero Ride then culminated at Horse Guards Parade with a military celebration including performances from The Games Maker Choir and The State Trumpeters.
The participation, public support and fundraising from the 1,300 cyclists is expected to see around £1million raised, with the total to be confirmed over the coming days. The funding will provide direct practical support to those who have suffered injuries in recent conflicts, as well as their families.
Hundreds of organised bike rides have taken place in the lead up to today’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 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 saw 250 cyclists leave the Help for Heroes Tedworth House Recovery Centre in the early hours of this morning. The riders pedalled 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.
The 2013 Hero Ride also saw a ride come down from Edinburgh, which included a triple amputee who cycled the 420 mile journey on a handbike. Another ride made up of wounded, injured and sick troops from Help for Heroes run Recovery Centre in Colchester also joined Hero Ride.
Bryn Parry, Co-Founder of Help for Heroes who joined the Paris to London leg of the 2013 Hero Ride, said: “This year’s Hero Ride has seen over one-thousand cyclists finish on the streets of London in the biggest national demonstration of support for our wounded heroes.
“I would like to say a heartfelt thank you to everyone involved with Hero Ride to make this wonderful event take place. The people that deserve the most thanks are the cyclists themselves, who have put in their own time to train and fundraise for this event – all in the name of our wounded heroes.
“With the withdrawal from Afghanistan just a year away, it is easy to think the job is over but actually the battle has just begun. Challenges such as Hero Ride, and the many more we will have in the future will allow our support to continue, for life.”
Paralympian and Help for Heroes Patron Jon Allan-Butterworth, who was severely injured in a mortar attack whilst serving in Iraq in 2007 and has been supported by the charity since, said: “Help for Heroes is a charity that has supported me so I understand exactly how the public’s support and fundraising is used to help wounded troops – in my case it has literally changed my life and I am immensely grateful.
“Today has made me very proud to be British and I want to say a huge thank you and congratulations to everyone that has taken part in Hero Ride, no matter how big or small their participation, every single person has made a difference. All of the effort and the fundraising by every cyclist today will be translated into support for our troops.”
Help for Heroes Patron and Hero Ride participant, musician James Blunt, said: “Every single person that got on a bike this week or fundraised for Help for Heroes deserves a very big thank you and a well done. It’s been amazing today to see such a large group of people, from every background, coming together in support of our troops and it is my pleasure to be involved.
“I have no doubt that this event will have resulted in large amounts of donations for Help for Heroes and this money will be used to provide crucial support – so thank you.”
Help for Heroes Patron Lorraine Kelly said: “Today has been such a wonderful show of support to our wounded. Hero Ride has become even more poignant since the awful events that took place in Woolwich and all of the riders deserve a massive well done for playing their part in fundraising for such an important charity.”
Help for Heroes Patron and professional road cyclist Mark Cavendish, who was in London today to support the riders including his fiancée Peta Todd as they crossed the finish line, said: “I definitely know about how much training has to go in to a cycling event like Hero Ride – you have to be dedicated and all of the cyclists taking part today have a great cause in Help for Heroes that they’re fighting for.
“Every person involved in Hero Ride deserves a huge congratulations and well done for such a great achievement for a brilliant cause. I’ve seen how Help for Heroes use donations to provide outstanding support for our troops and everyone’s effort here today will only add to this support.”
Peta Todd, fiancée of cyclist Mark Cavendish and Patron of Help for Heroes since 2008, said: “Congratulations to everyone that has taken part in Hero Ride, whether they have just been on their bike today or have taken on longer rides throughout this week. We can all be so proud of not only our achievement but also the money that’s been raised for Help for Heroes – we are ensuring that their support can continue long-term and our support needs to keep coming!”
Lord Seb Coe, showing his support for the charity, said: “Help for Heroes is known for the incredible support it gives to our wounded troops and we must all work together to maintain this support for many years to come.
“The charity is successfully aiding the recovery of thousands of injured servicemen and women, with ‘sport in recovery’ playing a vital role in this process. Help for Heroes has been able to provide adaptive sports through the recovery process for over 1,500 individuals and this work has led to many injured troops progressing into elite sport and we hope to see many of them competing at the Paralympic Games in Rio in 2016.”
Hero Ride activity was 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.
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 register interest for future Help for Heroes fundraising challenges and the 2014 Hero Ride, please visit: www.helpforheroes.org.uk