Bike ride helps bring in £20,000 for soldier

Ride in the memory of Sapper William Blanchard'''he third is at Waterloo Bridge at 5:15am (from Left: Tim Wright, Aaron Wright, Jon Wright, Kay Brunton and Ian Brunton).  '''Wilburforce' have raised over �17,000 towards help for heroes and hope to raise �20,000 in total by the end of the year.

Ride in the memory of Sapper William Blanchard'''he third is at Waterloo Bridge at 5:15am (from Left: Tim Wright, Aaron Wright, Jon Wright, Kay Brunton and Ian Brunton). '''Wilburforce' have raised over �17,000 towards help for heroes and hope to raise �20,000 in total by the end of the year.

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FRIENDS and family of a soldier who died in Afghanistan have raised almost £20,000 in his memory.

Sapper William Blanchard, from Gosport, was shot while serving in Afghanistan in October 2010.

Since the 40-year-old’s death, his friends and family have taken part in a range of fundraising events to raise cash for Help for Heroes.

And last weekend, a group of 15 took part in Nightrider – a 100km moonlit bike ride across London that takes in all the iconic landmarks. Around £2,000 was raised.

Now, £19,648 has been raised in total since the group, called Wilburforce, was set up after Sapper Blanchard died.

Friend Aaron Wright, 31, from Fyfield Close in Whiteley, said: ‘It’s absolutely amazing really.

‘It’s been remarkable how much support we have had from everybody with friends, family and colleagues and those in the army.

‘It has been incredible how well we have done.

‘We have gone out of our way to try and do some interesting challenges.’

People have jumped out of planes, abseiled down the Spinnaker Tower and climbed mountains to raise money.

Aaron was one of the cyclists to take part in the ride.

She said: ‘It was a long ride over nine hours.

‘It was exciting. There were high points and low points. I came off my bike. I have got some nasty bruises.

‘The atmosphere was absolutely amazing with all the flags out for the Jubilee still.

‘People were cheering us on coming out of the pubs.

‘A cab driver gave us some money because he was ex-services. There was so much morale. Seeing all the landmarks around the city was amazing.’

Visit bmycharity.com/wilburforce2012 to donate.

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