SSAFA D-Day Ride ends

After thousands of miles collectively cycled and with many thousands of pounds raised, the SSAFA D-Day Ride ended yesterday (9 June) at Utah Beach on the Cotentin Peninsula of Normandy.

Organised by SSAFA, the Armed Forces charity, the three-day, 240-mile ride began on D-Day (6 June) with the 30-strong team of cyclists, as well as SSAFA staff and volunteers, disembarking at Calais and going straight into the first leg of their journey.

The route incorporated some of the most recognisable locations from the campaign to liberate France, including Sainte-Mère-Église, Bénouville – site of Pegasus Bridge – Juno Beach at Courseulles-sur-Mer, Bayeux War Cemetery, and the British Normandy Memorial at Ver-sur-Mer.

Those taking part said:

Great experience, met wonderful people, well organised trip from start to finish. And it’s in my memory bank for the rest of my life” said Vincent Kerr, while Mike Eytle commented:

240 miles done! My rear end is sore, but what an incredible experience! Would you believe it was only last Sunday that I hopped on a road bike for the very first time? I did the D-Day Ride for SSAFA because it was there 80 years ago and they’re still there now.”

Lieutenant General Sir Andrew Gregory, the CEO of SSAFA, added:

Eighty years ago, SSAFA was supporting service people and their families as the liberation of France commenced with the D-Day invasion. Today, we are proud still to be supporting a small number of those veterans – along with the veterans of Korea, Malaysia, the Falklands, Northern Ireland, and more recent conflicts such as Iraq and Afghanistan, and, of course, their families.

The SSAFA D-Day 80 Ride was a chance both to celebrate the service and sacrifice of those who landed in Normandy in June 1944 and then helped liberate Europe from Nazi tyranny as well as to raise money for and the profile of SSAFA. It was exhausting (93 miles on Day 1 nearly finished me), moving and uplifting; I am proud to be a part of a charity that supports nearly 60,000 people each year, changes lives and has such committed supporters including those who cycled with me.”

The D-Day 80 Ride may be over, but SSAFA’s work continues day in, day out across the UK, in France, and around the world. Its volunteers and staff support those in the Armed Forces community, regardless of rank or regiment, ship or squadron, serving or retired because no-one should battle alone.

To learn more, search for “SSAFA fundraising”.

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By @Cobseo 54 years ago

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