Six wounded veterans from the North East have joined forces to announce their goal to ride the Virgin Money Cyclone Challenge and raise funds to support colleagues back into education and work.
In partnership with the charity Forward Assist, Walking with the Wounded has formed the Walking with the Wounded Forward Assist Team with the aim of bolstering support for its mission to help injured ex-servicemen and women across the North East re-build their lives and get back into the workplace.
John Rames, Colin Hutchinson, Wayne Bell, Dan Ellam, Stu Collier and Simon Kristiansen, all former soldiers from the North East, will be riding the 33-mile cycling challenge in aid of Walking with the Wounded and Forward Assist.
They have all sustained serious physical or mental injuries during their time in the Army and are taking on the ride in the hope of raising awareness for the work both charities do in getting wounded ex-forces personnel into stable careers.
Team member Simon Kristiansen, a former Marine and Sports Development Officer at Forward Assist, said: “Sport plays a huge role in the rehabilitation of injured soldiers after service. Many aspects of it, from the camaraderie and working as a team, echo the skills learned within the armed forces.
“All of the team is looking forward to the Virgin Money Cyclone Challenge and really hope that people show support for our cause however they can – through donations and cheering us on as we take on those mighty Northumberland hill climbs.”
Staged over four days from June 18-22, the Virgin Money Cyclone offers rides for amateurs and enthusiasts at all levels – from sporting challenges and family routes to a weekend of professional racing.
The weekend culminates in the women’s Curlew Cup and men’s UCI European Tour Road Race, the Beaumont Trophy, featuring some of the world’s best cyclists.