A century ago next Monday, Britain entered the First World War. It was to be one of the major turning-points of the 20th century – and the beginning of Blind Veterans UK. The charity was founded in 1915 to support soldiers, sailors and munitions workers blinded in service. Next Monday, I will be embarking on a 5 day WW1 Centenary Cycle to Paris hoping to pay some small tribute to all those who have paid the ultimate sacrifice! I am doing this, because it is something I feel strongly about and also to raise funds and awareness for Blind Veterans UK, a charity close to my heart. I have had fantastic support throughout the year but would make one more appeal for any support you can offer, please donate if you can, to help support this wonderful cause at http://www.justgiving.com/FSS2
Unfortunately, I am struggling a little with a knee injury I have picked up, However, I will be applying a large dose of Rule 5, not to mention Ice and Brufen. Over the course of the week, we will visit a number of the memorials and battlefields of Belgium and Northern France:
Day 1: 4 Aug – Folkestone to Ypres. Ride to ferry port at Dover for crossing to Calais. On arrival in Calais, cycle through the battlefields of Northern France to Ypres in Belgium. Cycling distance – approximately 99 km / 61.5 miles.
Day 2: 5 Aug – Ypres to Arras. Cycle to Tyne Cot Cemetery, Zonnebeke, before heading towards Lens and the region of the Somme. En route to Arras, pass by the Island of Ireland Peace Park, the Loos Memorial and the preserved trenches and Canadian Memorial at Vimy Memorial Park. Cycling distance – approximately 109.5 km / 68 miles.
Day 3: 6 Aug – Arras to Amiens. Visit Arras Cemetery and Monument to the Missing, before cycling to Amiens, passing by The Ulster Memorial, The Sheffield Memorial Park, The Thiepval Memorial to the Missing and The Lochnagar mine crater. Cycling distance – approximately 96.5 km / 60 miles.
Day 4: 7 Aug – Amiens to Compiègne. Cycle via Bray-sur-Somme and strategic villages of the Front Line. We pass many WWI cemeteries today, for all nationalities. Some of the main sites are The Villers-Bretonneux Memorial, The Australian Corps Memorial Park and The 58th (London) Division Memorial, Chipilly. Cycling distance – approximately 112.5 km / 70 miles.
Day 5: 8 Aug – Compiègne to Paris. Final day of cycling through forest surrounding Compiègne, stopping en route at the Armistice Memorial Site.
Continue on to Paris, up the Champs Elysées, round the Arc de Triomphe and finishing our challenge beneath the 420m high Eiffel Tower! Cycling distance – approximately 106 km / 66 miles.
Day 6; 9 Aug – Free morning to enjoy the sights and sounds of Paris before returning to the UK
If you have friends or relatives at rest in any of the places I will visit, let me know and I will try to pay me respects.
My deepest and heartfelt thanks for your support