July 29 2014 Latest news:
Thursday, June 26, 2014
‘A group of men, dressed in Lycra, puffing their way to Belgium’ – well, that is the unofficial line for a team from Dunmow Round Table on a mission to raise tens of thousands of pounds for charity.
To commemorate the centenary of the First World War, members of the club are gearing up for a two-day cycle ride to Ypres, in September.
Not content with riding 160 miles through Europe, they have also set themselves a target of raising £40,000 for the British Limbless Ex-Serviceman’s Association (BLESMA), which supports service men and women who have lost a limb while serving for their country.
The ambitious challenge was the brainchild of Round Table chairman Mike Dalton.
He said: “I am really excited about it. The response from the members and friends of the Table has been fantastic. I was only expecting about 10 to 12 people to get involved but now we are up to 34.
“I don’t think I had done more than five miles on a bike and half the people taking part would not have considered themselves cyclists six months ago.
“But looking at our league tables and the mileage people are clocking you would not be able to tell.”
During their six-month training programme the participants are expected to cycle 75,000 miles. While on their bikes, they have been making sure to pass war memorials in the area.
For extra support the group also enlisted men from Carver Barracks to join them on the ride, which starts on September 5.
“We wanted to do something that would tie in with the centenary as Dunmow has a lot of connections with the first and second world wars,” said Mr Dalton.
“It was speaking to the men from Caver Barracks that we decided BLESMA was the charity we wanted to raise money for.
“It gave us a good idea of the work the charity does and how much of an affect it still has on service men and women after all these years.”
The men will be donning jerseys – funded by Shepherd’s Physiotherapy – on their ride and once they arrive at their destination, they will lay a wreath at the Last Post ceremony at the Menin Gate Memorial.
To donate to their cause visit mydonate.bt.com/events/ypres2014/118995.