Halfords Help for Heroes Bike Ride underway

300 riders raising money for Armed Forces' rehabilitation centre

The Halfords Help for Heroes Bike Ride is now well underway and today the fund-raising peloton makes its way from the port of Caen to PegasusBridge in northern France

The Help for Heroes charity was launched in October 2007 and is now very close to hitting its initial target of £6m which will help provide a swimming pool and gym complex at

Headley Court
, the tri service rehabilitation centre in Surrey, which helps service men and women woulded in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Six months ago Help for Heroes founders Bryn and Emma Parry, asked cyclists to volunteer to ride through the battlefields of northern France to raise money and to link the servicemen and women of the past with their brothers in arms of today. Halfords signed up to sponsor and support the venture and currently around 300 riders who have each pledged to raise a minimum of £2000 are riding a route that  traces some of the region’s most significant WW1 and WW2 battle sites. Those sites include the Normandy landing beaches and Thiepval on the Somme.

Headley Court
itself has entered a team of riders which includes Corporal Rory Mackenzie, Lance Corporal Craig Lundberg, SAC Jon-Allan Butterworth and  Sergeant Stu Pearson  who are using a variety of adapted bicycles, hand bikes and tandems. Four of the riders are missing legs and two cannot use their arms. The event will be a great physical challenge for all and will culminate in a mass ride of up to 3000 cyclists from all over Britain down Whitehall on Sunday June 1, before the wounded riders lay a wreath at the Cenotaph. 

When the riders cross PegasusBridge today they will do so to the sound of bagpipes playing Black Bear, the tune played by Lord Lovat’s piper as his commandos relieved the bridge in 1944.

There will be wreath-laying ceremonies at both the museum and the Cafe Gondree with Madame Gondree, who was a child when the gliders landed, taking part. The bridge and surrounding area has a particular significance to Airborne Forces and was the center of intense fighting by 6th Airborne Division in the Normandy campaign.

On D Day, June 6 1944, men from D Company Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry  (now The Rifles) landed by Horsa gliders piloted by men from The Glider Pilots Regiment, (now the Army Air Corps), in an audacious operation to seize the strategically vital bridge over the Orne Canal.

Wounded soldiers of the Parachute Regiment and The Rifles will lay the wreaths and a bugler from The Rifles will sound Last Post and Reveille before sounding The Advance to start the riders on their way.

Pegasus Bridge is a very symbolic start point to the French section of the ride as the action was the first place Allied troops landed in the invasion in their mission to liberate Europe and representatives from the Regiments that took part are now involved in the fighting in Afghanistan and Iraq. Lieutenant General Richard Shirreff CBE, Commander of the Allied Rapid Reaction Corps is one of the cyclists on the ride and his last job was to command 3 Division whose men were engaged in bitter fighting in Iraq. His wife Sarah Jane, also riding, is a trustee of H4H.

By laying wreaths at this key site the riders will seek to remember the fallen of the Second World War and to link the men who fought there, to those who fight and are wounded serving their country today. You can donate to the cause by buying one of the distinctive tri-coloured wrist bands currently on sale in Halfords stores throughout the UK. 

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