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Comments OffDecember 31, 2014by Alan Sadler

The Poppy Ride 2014

The Poppy Ride 2014

The Poppy Ride was the sixth charity cycle ride undertaken by GM Fundraising and is the first in aid of The Royal British Legion. Previously the team have raised over a million pounds for UK Children’s Charities from sponsored long-distance rides across America and Europe. What sets the Poppy Ride apart is that rather than seeking to attract sponsorship from friends and family, this time all the riders are making personal donations to the cause as well as covering all their own personal costs.

The Poppy Ride was the brainchild of long time GM Fundraising team member Graeme Bailey.  It was he who envisaged a charity cycle ride to the battlefields of the Somme to both mark the Centenary of World War 1 and to pay tribute to the sacrifice of the fallen. The Royal British Legion was the clear choice to be the main beneficiary, because of its welfare work with every branch of the Armed Forces and because fundamentally it is the Nation’s custodian of Remembrance. The National Memorial Arboretum, which is hosting the start of the Poppy Ride has also accepted a substantial donation.

The team felt that additional funds could be raised by securing a ride sponsor. Veteran GM Fundraising cyclist Gary Torr had already decided to join the Poppy Ride before generously agreeing for his company Dekko Windows to become the main sponsor. The Dekko Windows logo proudly sits alongside the poppy on every riders shirt.

The route of the Poppy Ride begins at the National Arboretum in Staffordshire. The riders will then head down the old Roman road to London, Watling Street or the A5 as it is now known, to Milton Keynes. Next morning they will ride to the Cenotaph in Whitehall for a wreath laying ceremony, before cycling through South London to the overnight stop in Dartford. The following day the riders will cycle to Dover, catch the ferry to France and overnight in Calais before undertaking the 74 mile leg to Arras. The final day will see the team cycle a 55-mile loop around the battlefield memorials and cemeteries of the Somme, concluding with a two minutes silence at the Arras Memorial, which commemorates 34,785 soldiers of the British Empire with no known grave.