Thousands descend on streets of London as Hero Ride raises funds for Help for Heroes. Pictured, Lorraine Kelly of ITV Daybreak fame lends her support to Hero Ride.
Help for Heroes Patron Lorraine Kelly says, “Today has been such a wonderful show of support to our wounded. Hero Ride has become even more poignant since the awful events that took place in Woolwich and all of the riders deserve a massive well done for playing their part in fundraising for such an important charity.”
The biggest cycling show of support for our wounded this country has ever seen concluded today as over 1,300 Hero Ride cyclists crossed the finish line at Horse Guards Parade to fundraise for Help for Heroes.
Members of the public and Help for Heroes celebrity Patrons lined The Mall in support of the annual event, which has seen riders from all corners of the country stage fundraising bike rides, meeting en masse in Blackheath this morning before riding together into central London.
The 2013 Hero Ride cyclists, led by over 150 wounded veterans and service personnel from the UK, USA and Canada, paused to pay respects at the Monument to the Women of WW2 before riding in formation along The Mall towards Admiralty Arch to reach the finish line at Horse Guards Parade.
The 2013 Hero Ride then culminated at Horse Guards Parade with a military celebration including performances from The Games Maker Choir and The State Trumpeters.
The participation, public support and fundraising from the 1,300 cyclists is expected to see around £1million raised, with the total to be confirmed over the coming days. The funding will provide direct practical support to those who have suffered injuries in recent conflicts, as well as their families.
Hundreds of organised bike rides have taken place in the lead up to today’s finale. The first was the Big Battlefield Bike Ride which saw 300 cyclists ride over 350 miles from Paris to London. The large group of fundraisers were waved off by the Duchess of Cornwall at Les Invalides when they set off on Tuesday 28th of May.
In another gallant feat, the Dawn Raid cycle challenge saw 250 cyclists leave the Help for Heroes Tedworth House Recovery Centre in the early hours of this morning. The riders pedalled 90 miles through the night, departing at 2am in order to meet with the other cyclists at Blackheath for the final ride in to central London.
The 2013 Hero Ride also saw a ride come down from Edinburgh, which included a triple amputee who cycled the 420 mile journey on a handbike. Another ride made up of wounded, injured and sick troops from Help for Heroes run Recovery Centre in Colchester also joined Hero Ride.
Bryn Parry, Co-Founder of Help for Heroes who joined the Paris to London leg of the 2013 Hero Ride, said: “This year’s Hero Ride has seen over one-thousand cyclists finish on the streets of London in the biggest national demonstration of support for our wounded heroes.
“I would like to say a heartfelt thank you to everyone involved with Hero Ride to make this wonderful event take place. The people that deserve the most thanks are the cyclists themselves, who have put in their own time to train and fundraise for this event – all in the name of our wounded heroes.
“With the withdrawal from Afghanistan just a year away, it is easy to think the job is over but actually the battle has just begun. Challenges such as Hero Ride, and the many more we will have in the future will allow our support to continue, for life.”
Hero Ride activity was not just taking place on the roads, Virgin Active health clubs across the country have been offering the opportunity for members to get involved in their local club’s Hero Ride activity, such as group static cycle events or boot camp training sessions, with all funds raised being donated to Help for Heroes.
Help for Heroes Patron and professional road cyclist Mark Cavendish, who was in London today to support the riders including his fiancé Peta Todd as they crossed the finish line, said: “I definitely know about how much training has to go in to a cycling event like Hero Ride – you have to be dedicated and all of the cyclists taking part today have a great cause in Help for Heroes that they’re fighting for.
“Every person involved in Hero Ride deserves a huge congratulations and well done for such a great achievement for a brilliant cause. I’ve seen how Help for Heroes use donations to provide outstanding support for our troops and everyone’s effort here today will only add to this support.”