May 21 2013 Latest news:
Sunday, October 7, 2012
A group of inspiring armed forces veterans from the US and UK passed through Norfolk’s coastal communities this weekend during the first two days of a 250 mile cycling challenge.
The 30 amputees, made up of serving and veteran disabled men and women, are taking part in Soldier Ride UK - a six day expedition, which aims to raise awareness of limbless armed forces personnel and the challenges they face after injury.
The group set off from the Sandringham Estate yesterday (Saturday), where they were first greeted by the Duke of Edinburgh, and passed through Cromer and Great Yarmouth today (Sunday).
Brendan West, a member of Blesma - the limbless veterans charity which helped organise the second annual event - said meeting the Duke was “impressive” .
“He’s extremely sharp and a very witty man,” Mr West added. “He talked to everybody which was really nice.”
Soldier Ride is now is its second year and is a collaborative effort between ABF The Soldiers’ Charity – the national charity of the British Army, Blesma and the Wounded Warrior Project.
Between them the three charities provide support and rehabilitation to serving and veteran service personnel, both injured and disabled, and their families on both sides of the Atlantic.
The tough ride will see the soldiers pass through Southwold tomorrow (Monday) and into Essex, before finishing in London on Thursday.
Mr West said: “It’s a really challenging ride. Two hundred and fifty miles is challenging for an able bodied person, for a triple amputee it’s an amazing achievement.”
Despite some of the group suffering from aches and pains along the way Mr West said everyone had enjoyed exploring the county’s coastline and countryside.
“We have had a fantastic welcome from everyone along the ride. We have had people cheering, clapping, saying hello and offering pints,” he added. “And when we stop we get approached by the public who are so friendly.
“And the other great thing is the camaraderie between the US and the Brits. The hand cycles can struggle a bit up hills so we give them a push or a tow. It builds up a really warm relationship between us all.”