D-Day cycle ride from London to Paris will take in Normandy beaches to honour invasion heroes

CYCLING ‘heroes’ are being sought to join an epic adventure across two countries as part of an event commemorating the courage of those who fought on D-Day.

Wednesday, 13th February 2019, 4:09 pm
Updated Monday, 18th February 2019, 10:14 am
Cyclists are being sought to join a London to Paris ride honouring the D-Day heroes. It will take in a range of Second World War sites, including Normandy landing beaches. The event is in aid of the Royal Navy and Royal Marines Charity in Portsmouth.

Riders will cycle from London to Paris as part of the five-day voyage, which will see them pedal they way to key Second World War sites dotted across Normandy.

Known as the Heroes Challenge 2019, the two-wheeled trek has been arranged by Portsmouth-based military cause the Royal Navy and Royal Marines Charity (RNRMC) and defence giant BAE Systems.

Beginning on Wednesday, September 18, the route will wind through the English countryside to Portsmouth where fundraisers will sail to Caen.

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Landings on Gold Beach during D-Day on June 6, 1944. Photo: PA

Continuing through small villages and medieval market towns in northern France, riders will take time to visit some of the Normandy landing beaches.

The trip will feature a ride to Juno, the Gold beaches and a visit to the historic Pegasus Bridge where the first house to be liberated from the Germans in June 1944 still stands.

After long days in the saddle and some arduous hill-climbs, the challenge will draw to a close under the famous Eiffel Tower.

Following successful completion of the cycle, riders and their crews will be invited to a prize giving and celebration meal at the British ambassador’s residence in Paris.

It’s hoped that the event will raise thousands of pounds for the RNRMC, which supports sailors, Marines and their families.

Adrian Bell, chief executive at the RNRMC, said: ‘The Heroes Cycle Challenge is a fantastic opportunity to not only take part in a great adventure but to raise money for an incredibly important cause while honouring the memory of the heroes of D-Day.

‘This cycle challenge event is the first of its kind for the RNRMC and we’re expecting a lot of interest in a challenge of this nature. All the money raised will go back to the RNRMC, who in turn will use the money to ensure that sailors, marines, veterans and their families are given the very best support.’

Anyone can sign up for the event, which is priced at £140 with a fundraising target of £1,600 set for each individual. All money raised will be donated to the RNRMC.

For more than ten years, the RNRMC has distributed millions of pounds to in support of naval families.

Andrew Wolstenholme, BAE Systems group managing director maritime and land UK, was proud to be backing the fundraiser.

He said: ‘At BAE Systems we are proud to invest in the communities in which we operate, not least the military communities with whom we work most closely. Our partnership with the RNRMC is longstanding and we are excited to launch our joint fundraiser for 2019.’

D-Day took place on June 6, 1944 and was the biggest seaborne invasion, involving 156,000 Allied troops.

As many as 4,413 Allied troops died on the day of the invasion. By the end of D-Day, the Allies had established a foothold in France. Within 11 months Nazi Germany was defeated.