Thousands of motorcyclists commemorate fallen comrades at Ride to the Wall
Published on: Mon, 07/10/2019 - 08:42
On Saturday 5 October, over 7,000 motorcyclists made pilgrimage to the National Memorial Arboretum, in Staffordshire to pay tribute to fallen comrades commemorated on the Armed Forces Memorial. Now in its twelfth year, Ride to the Wall brings together bikers from across the UK and further afield to remember those who ‘can no longer ride by our side’ and has generated almost £1 million to support the 150-acre site, including £151,000 in 2018 alone.
Most of the riders arrived in convoy after departing from one of eleven designated start locations around the country. As the motorcycles approach the Arboretum they are greeted by David ‘Blu’ Andrew, a veteran of Northern Ireland, who every year braves the weather, standing to attention for five hours, saluting every rider as they pass.
Following the Service of Remembrance there was thunderous applause as Anthony ‘Coops’ Cooper walked up the steps of the Armed Forces Memorial to lay a wreath on the central plinth. Coops, was critically injured by an IED in Afghanistan, losing both legs, his right eye, two fingers on one hand and fingertips from the other, and had longed to one day be able to climb the memorial to honour his fallen comrades.
Philippa Rawlinson, Managing Director of the National Memorial Arboretum, said: “This is my first ever Ride to the Wall and the sight of thousands of riders streaming in to pay their respects is simply incredible. Our events programme offers a wide variety of ways for people to engage with the concept of Remembrance and today provides a fantastic example of people coming together from across the UK and further afield to pay their respects in their own way.
“The Arboretum is the nation’s year-round centre of Remembrance and we are immensely grateful for the ongoing generosity of the Ride to the Wall family who have raised almost £1 million for the Arboretum to date, ensuring that we can remain a place for people to reflect and be inspired as they commemorate lives lost in service.”
Martin Dickinson, Founder of Ride to the Wall, said: “Each year we gather at Ride to the Wall to remember those who can no longer ride by our side. We ride to make sure that the names on the walls of the Armed Forces Memorial will never be forgotten. Since the first Ride to the Wall in 2008 we have raised almost £1 million to support the National Memorial Arboretum and to ensure it remains a place where people can come and pay tribute to the fallen.”