480-mile cycle ride for three charities

Fri 12 Sep, 2014

Some of the cyclists and support team are pictured with Kerry James from The Fire Fighters Charity

Some of the cyclists and support team members are pictured with Kerry James from The Fire Fighters Charity.

Eleven current and former members of staff from Buckinghamshire Fire & Rescue Service are setting off on a six-day charity cycle ride on Sunday morning (14 September).

They are marking centenary of the start of World War One by following the 480-mile route of the Western Front from Switzerland through France to Belgium.

They will be raising money for The Fire Fighters Charity, the Florence Nightingale Hospice Charity and the Royal British Legion 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 Manager Tim Parkins from Headquarter in Aylesbury, who is 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 three causes that meant a lot to them.”

The other 10 cyclists are: Firefighter Steve Bailey, High Wycombe; Watch Manager Mark Richards, Waddesdon; Crew Manager Adam Moore, Buckingham; Dave Thexton, Headquarters, Aylesbury; Station Manager Andrew Walker and Watch Manager Sean Fanning, Fire Safety Office, Marlow; and Denis O’Driscoll, Steve Foster, Tony Cooke and Neil Powell, retired.

The support crew comprises Mick Martin (Headquarters, Aylesbury), Colin Manning (Aylesbury), Eddie Hunt (retired) and Bill Phipps (retired).

An online donation page has been set up on the JustGiving website here. The cyclists have a Facebook page called BFRS Western Front Centenary Memorial Bike Ride 2014 and you can follow their progress on Twitter at @BFRS_Cycle_Ride