I’ve been asked why I support Help for Heroes. In 2004, I was medically discharged from the RAF after 14 years. Despite leaving the RAF earlier than I had planned because of my hearing loss I consider myself to be lucky. I left with all the bits of me that were attached when I joined up still attached when I left! Far too many of our young servicemen and women aren’t as lucky as me. After a few years of not doing quite as much exercise as I could have I decided that I needed to get a bit fitter and wanted a physical challenge to motivate me. It was around this time in 2009 I saw on the Help for Heroes website http://www.helpforheroes.org.uk/ details of their “Big Battlefield Bike Ride 2010” and signed up, committed to raise some money and started cycling more than I had since i’d got my first car!, .
I am so glad I did, I had an incredible time. The Big Battlefield Bike Rides are a fabulous experience, riding across Northern France with a group of people all there to “do their bit” for our blokes, meeting Bryn & Emma Parry who set up the Charity and some of the guys who had been injured in service was truly inspirational. Stopping at some of the key battle field sites of World War 1 & 2 and the cemeteries lovingly maintained by http://www.cwgc.org/ was very moving as was being in Dunkirk for the commemoration of the 70th anniversary of the evacuation of troops back across the English Channel. Meeting some of the veterans who spoke so matter of factly about standing chest deep in water for up to 2 days to be evacuated onto one of the “Little Ships” was truly humbling.
One of the things Help for Heroes does is to distribute money it raises to other Charities supporting Ex Service personnel including @CombatStress http://www.combatstress.org.uk/ who help those whose service has caused them Mental ill health. Having worked in a Mental Health NHS Trust and knowing a (little) bit about the impact of depression and Post Traumatic Stress its another charity whose work I really respect.
Since 2009 I’ve re-discovered how much fun getting out on a bike can be and how much better I feel for cycling to and from work and I’m looking forwards to joining 350 or so other Lycra clad loonies and cycling from Paris to London in May with teh aim of raising over £1million for the work Help for Heroes and the other charities & projects they support.
If you can help me raise a few quid then you can donate here: http://www.bmycharity.com/SimonWParistoLondonpedal
or drop me a line if you have an idea or how you might be able to help.
Remember “It’s about the ‘blokes’
Thanks for reading.