14 cyclists, 515 miles, seven days, one charity

Mon 10 Sep, 2018

Group picture of cyclists and support staff at Aylesbury Fire Station

Fourteen current and former members of staff from Buckinghamshire Fire & Rescue Service begin a 515-mile charity cycle ride today (10 September 2018).

Along with a seven-man support crew, they are marking the centenary of the end of World War One and the 75th anniversary of The Fire Fighters Charity by following the line of the Western Front from the Swiss border with France, finishing on the Belgian coast.

The seven-day ride will be raising money for The Fire Fighters Charity in memory of two former colleagues who died in 2011.

The duo – Keith Holland and Pete Soulsby – used to help organise an annual trip to the Remembrance Day parade at Ypres in Belgium. The trip, which has taken place every year since 1990, enables fire and rescue service staff to pay their respects to the tens of thousands of soldiers who lost their lives in World War One but who have no known grave.

Many of the cyclists will be going back to Ypres in November to take part in the parade, but they will be making that journey on four wheels rather than two.

Station Commander Tim Parkins, the organiser and one of the cyclists, said: “As well as being a fitting tribute to two people we all miss, it is an opportunity to raise money for a cause that meant a lot to them.”

A number of those taking part are veterans of similar fundraising rides that took place in 2014 and 2016.

An online donation page has been set up on the Virgin Money Giving website. The cyclists also have a Facebook page called BFRS Western Front Centenary Memorial Bike Ride 2018.