Trio go more than the extra mile
Trio go more than the extra mile

A trio of ex-servicemen have completed an epic 1,400 mile bike ride through Britain to raise thousands of pounds for their wounded comrades.

Former Royal Engineer Steve Craddock, Naval veteran Lee Patmore, and retired Royal Marine Brian Kilgannon have completed their epic 1400 mile cycle ride from John O’Groats Scotland to Land’s End in Cornwall raising money for Help for Heroes, and at the same time raising awareness of mental health.

The former warriors were not content with the challenge that has tested the metal of cyclists for decades.

Instead of taking the usual 960-mile route through the western spine of Great Britain, Steve, Brian and Lee made detours adding an additional 500 miles to the route by visiting all of the Help for Heroes recovery centres.

One of those detours also saw the trio come into Kent with their support crew, stopping first in Gravesend before heading to Brompton Barracks in Gillingham.

There to greet them were the team from the Kent Sports Trust Foundation for which Steve is a patron.

They also cycled up hills totalling a total of 63,000ft the equivalent of more than twice the height of mount Everest.

This was a tough ask of anyone, let alone for Steve and Brian who both suffer from PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) from their time in services and had to fight their own mental demons along with the physical toll the route took, however, Steve and Brian drew inspiration from Lee who suffers from Fibromyalgia, a condition that causes heightened pain and extreme tiredness.

Lee, from Essex, a former Able Seaman, now mainly confined to a wheelchair, took on this mammoth journey on a custom-made cycle powered by his arms.

Retired Sergeant Steve, from Chatham, said: “I hope you can begin to appreciate the sheer effort, guts and determination that Lee had to show to complete this challenge.”

“Lee was in pain and discomfort the whole time. How his body coped with the physical excursion I will never know, his courage, tenacity and sheer bloody mindedness was a true inspiration and a joy to behold.”

Former Colour Sergeant Brian is no stranger to endurance cycling. He has already cycled from the most northerly part of mainland Britain to its most south westerly point via as he puts it ‘the easy route’.

And in 2006 he set a world cycling endurance record on an indoor turbo trainer, clocking up a staggering 1,017 miles in 60 hours.

“We are very grateful to Companies such as AC Goatham & Son and The Sun Newspaper for providing our team with support vehicles and to Gore Bike Wear for supplying our winter training and ride clothing.” said Brian.

“Also our great friends at the Brentwood Trust who gave a large sum of money to enable this challenge to take place.”

The general route was:

John O’Groats.
Livingston
Catterick, North Yorkshire (Phoenix House).
Colchester, Essex (Chavase House).
Brentwood, Essex.
Brompton Barracks, Chatham, Kent.
Tidworth, Hampshire (Tedworth House).
Plymouth, Devon (Hasler Company).
Land’s End.

The Band of Brothers completed the challenge within 29 days which included 3 rest days.

The next event for Steve is his annual Cycle 4 Heroes bike ride which takes place on Saturday 24th June. The ride is planned to coincide with Armed Forces Day.

The ride starts and finishes in Gillingham and follows a stunning 50 miles through the wonderful North Kent countryside. The ride is fully supported with feed station, motorcycle marshals and medical cover.

Steve said: “This is an ideal ride for everyone of all abilities. Joining us on the day will be more than 20 members of the Help for Heroes Band of Brothers and Sisters who have all suffered from their service within our Armed Forces”

For more information and to sign up, visit the Cycle 4 Heroes website: http://www.cycle4heroes.com/


 
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