Bikers' epic ride to help ex-military

Published date: 20 May 2014 |
Published by: Owen Evans 
Read more articles by Owen Evans  Email reporter


DOZENS of motorcyclists have completed an epic 700-mile ride in a bid to raise tens of thousands of pounds for charity.

About 60 leather-clad bikers completed a three-day tour around Wales for mental health charity Combat Stress.

They set off from Farfield Masonic Hall, Connah’s Quay, on Friday, and took in Merthyr Tydfil, Cardiff, Swansea, Aberystwyth and Llanberis before completing their tour in Llandudno on Sunday.

Organiser Alan Sullivan, of Hawarden, said the event was fantastic.

He said: “Everything went to plan and the reception we had in Llandudno was great.

“There were probably about 200 or 250 people along the promenade.”

The bikers laid a wreath at the cenotaph in Llandudno after they were met by war veteran Billy Baxter, who set the blind solo world land speed record on a motorbike in 2003 with a speed of 164.87mph.

Mr Baxter, who is now Llandudno’s Town Crier, lost his sight after contracting a rare disease while serving with the 1st Regiment Royal Horse Artillery in Bosnia.

Mr Sullivan added: “One biker broke down on the way but we had a backup bike so all of us could finish.

“It will be hard to raise as much money as last year, but the awareness we have raised is really important.”

Last year the tour helped to raise £16,000 for the charity.

Lord Barry Jones, president of Combat Stress Wales, was on hand in Connah’s Quay on Friday to see the riders off.

He said: “These are very big hearted, good minded, compassionate men and women who want to stretch out a helping hand to former soldiers who are still experiencing the stress of their engagement in uniform.

“It is a brilliant organisation of which I’m very proud, since I know of much of the hard work that had gone into the organisation.

“I have engaged with some very fine people of integrity and great compassion and I have no doubt they will be a success.”

Falklands war veteran Simon Weston, who suffered 50 per cent burns to his body after the ship he was in was destroyed, will also be helping out with fundraising by compering a charity concert at Connah’s Quay Civic Hall on Friday, May 30 to help raise more money.

Tickets for the event, taking place between 7pm and 1am, cost £15, and can be obtained from Connah’s Quay Town Council by calling 01244 819420 or by calling Alan Sullivan on 07739323622.

Combat Stress is dedicated to helping former members of the Armed Forces cope with “psychological wounds”.

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