A LLANGOLLEN man will join a group of intrepid cyclists on a gruelling 800-mile Rock2Rock challenge from Rock in Cornwall to the rock of Gibraltar to raise awareness and funds for veterans' charity, Launchpad.

The group of eight will take part in the 12-day challenge, setting off this Sunday from Rock in Cornwall and cycling an average of 70 miles per day, before arriving at the rock of Gibraltar on Friday, September 29.

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The group of friends and work colleagues include serving military, veterans and civilians and will be trying to raise as much money for the charity, which provides vital accommodation and targeted support to Armed Forces veterans experiencing homelessness.

The cycle ride is part of a series of events the charity has organised for its 10th-anniversary celebrations with a corporate golf day at the Vale of Llangollen Golf Club on Friday, September 15, and a celebration black-tie dinner on Friday, October 27 at the Discovery Museum in Newcastle upon Tyne.

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The cycle event has been planned and organised by Launchpad's business development manager, Gary Perriton who is no stranger to cycling challenges. In 2021, Gary, from Llangollen, cycled 650 solo-miles in 11 days from Chepstow in Wales along the entire Welsh coastline to Chester, to raise awareness and funds for Launchpad.

Royal Navy Reservist Gary, has served for 36 years in the Royal Navy across a number of military departments both in the support and operational environments. He served on the front line both at sea and on land and has been commended for his commitment throughout a varied and successful military career including appointments within NATO and FCO.

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Gary said: "This year, Launchpad is celebrating its 10th anniversary, so I wanted to do something special to mark the occasion but more importantly, raise awareness of what the charity does to support homeless veterans and raise some vital funds along the way.

"After experiencing a wet and windy Wales in October 2021, I was keen for the next challenge to be in slightly warmer climates and having served in Gibraltar, I thought the Rock would be a good place to finish. So, Rock UK to rock of Gibraltar was born!

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"Although cycling solo was quite enjoyable, I'm really looking forward to riding with the team this time. I know we'll keep each other going when things get tough and I'm sure there'll be plenty of laughs along the way."

The cyclists will be joined by a support team who will provide first aid and refreshments.

The 12-day bike ride has been supported by a number of organisations and corporate sponsors including Linguassist, Oliver King Foundation, LovIT, Immervox, Me2you Cabs, Deskfrnd, Ellanstone, BeUrBest and Cubbie.

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Launchpad was founded in 2013 to help veterans struggling with transitioning from the military into civilian life who needed help and assistance, particularly with accommodation. The charity has three houses in the North of England in Newcastle, Liverpool and Durham providing accommodation for 101 homeless veterans - accepting veterans from all over the UK.

To date, more than 635 veterans have been supported since 2013 and 139 residents were supported between July 2022 and end of June 2023. On average, over the last five years, 60% of residents successfully moved on from Launchpad to live independently and 32% gained employment during their time with Launchpad.

• To support the team on their journey, you can donate via Just Giving at: https://www.justgiving.com/campaign/rock2rockcycle

• To coincide with the campaign, Launchpad has set up a virtual challenge for people to participate in. The challenge is available at Well Giving here: https://link.wellgiving.co.uk/3L2slTA