Friends set to tackle 350-mile epic bike ride to Dunkirk in support of Help for Heroes
TWO friends will tackle a 350-mile bike ride across several historic battle sites to support Help for Heroes.
Jasmine Hughes, from Gosport, and Russell Hunt are taking on the challenge of the Big Battlefield Bike Ride which kicks off with a ferry from Portsmouth next June, cycling an average of 70 miles a day from Etretat to Dunkirk.
Russell, known as Festa, wanted to take part in this challenge commemorating the 80th anniversary of the Dunkirk evacuation as he has experienced first-hand how Help for Heroes makes a difference to people’s lives.
The 33-year-old said: ‘I have suffered with physical injuries and mental health issues since 2005. About 18 months ago I got in touch with the Help for Heroes’ mental health team called Hidden Wounds.
‘From there I was lucky enough to be selected to do this years Big Battlefield Bike Ride as a beneficiary. It was 350 miles from Normandy to Paris taking in some of the key areas from D-Day.
‘It was amazing to see 400 people cycling to support people like me. Next year’s ride is to commemorate the evacuation from Dunkirk and I felt it would be right to return the support I’ve had and help other struggling wounded, injured or sick veterans.’
Russell applied to be part of the Invictus Games and earlier this year took part in the Invictus Game trials in Sheffield, winning gold in the wheelchair rugby team and bronze in cycling.
He has since then been picked to be part of Team UK for the main games next year in The Hague.
Jasmine, 26, has taken on a few charity bike rides in the past, but this is set to be her biggest challenge yet.
She said: ‘Growing up I always wanted to be in the military but due to being diagnosed with a heart disease at the age of 14 that idea had to change quite quickly.
‘That in mind and having seen the support that Festa has received from Help for Heroes, that made me want to be a part of the efforts to raise money for them to continue their amazing work.’