Merville Barracks medics take to two wheels for SSAFA

Three Lance Corporals attached to 2nd Battalion, Parachute Regiment will be on their bikes on 8 June for a 100-mile fundraiser for SSAFA, the Armed Forces charity.

The trio, Hugo Leonard, Jim Newton, and Freddy Mouland are based at Merville Barracks, Colchester and are BATLS-qualified Combat Medical Technicians attached to 2 PARA. Their vital roles see them providing Force health protection when in camp and while deployed overseas on exercises and operations.

Though new to the discipline of long-distance cycling, in their spare time, each is fitness orientated. LCpl Mouland, for example, is not only an avid Brazilian jiu-jitsu competitor, but also a keen rugby player and has played for the Army Medical Services Rugby Team and the Army’s Under-23 side.

The fundraiser for SSAFA is part of the “RAFA Ride” series, and the three – along with scores of other cyclists – will set off from RAF Brize Norton for 100 miles of cycling at pace through the leafy lanes of Oxfordshire.

Speaking on behalf of the others, LCpl Mouland explained why they chose SSAFA, saying:

All of us being service personnel hold SSAFA dear to our hearts as we’ve seen the positive impact it has on personnel still serving and veterans, and their families.

It’s amazing, too, to see the services SSAFA provides, including its Mentoring service for those who are exiting the service for them to adjust back to civilian life, which can be a very hard transition.

Another massive thing for us is the way SSAFA keeps you in contact with your friends who you served with via events and meet ups; my grandfather [one served in REME, the other in the Royal Sussex Regiment] used to tell me before I joined the Army that his Army friends were some of the best friends he ever made, and I now look back on what he said and truly appreciate and value these words of his.”

LCpl Mouland is right. SSAFA provides services – from Mentoring to Forcesline, and from Bereavement Support Groups to its Short Breaks Scheme for serving families with a child living with additional needs – that have evolved many times in the charity’s 139-year history.

These services are helping serving men and women and veterans, as well as their families to ensure that no-one has to battle on alone.

Every donation helps, so to support LCpls Newton, Mouland, and Leonard, visit their fundraising page at gofundme.com/f/2-para-rap-100-mile-cycle-for-charity.

The three can be followed – on Instagram if not through Oxfordshire – by searching for @Fred.Mou, @j_n3wton, and @hugoleopold.

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