Cyclists on poignant journey to D-Day site

The new commanding officer of HMS Collingwood, Captain Rob Vitali. Picture: Keith Woodland/MoD

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HUNDREDS of cyclists are preparing to pedal from Portsmouth to Paris.

More than 250 people are taking part in the 340-mile Big Battlefield Bike Ride in aid of Help for Heroes

The cyclists will take in the D-Day landing sites in Normandy and will stop for memorial services on the journey.

Tim Baines, from Broadmere Avenue, Havant, is taking part with his 21-year-old son, Jon.

It will be the second year running Mr Baines, who works at the ferry port, has taken part.

The 49-year-old said: ‘I retired from the army after 23 years so it is something I feel very strongly about. We will be cycling with limbless British and American ex-servicemen who are amazing.

‘My son fully understands what it’s like to have a dad in the military because I was away a lot so he really wanted to come with me.’

The father and son team have so far raised £4,000 between them but would like to raise more.

The ride begins on Sunday evening at the ferry port.

To sponsor them go to bmycharity.com/tbainesbbbr2011 or bmycharity.com/jonbainesbbbr2011.