In 2010 I was serving as a member of the UK Special Forces on yet another high risk operation. On this occasion I was leading a large convoy of vehicles towards a target under the cover of darkness. Intelligence had indicated that this area was mined with Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs), however due to the surrounding extreme terrain this was the only route we could take to our chosen destination and to complete our mission.
Through my night vision goggles the area ahead looked clear and so after a brief pause to decide on the best way forward I instructed the driver of the vehicle to move on. However, moments later the vehicle was completely destroyed as an explosion ripped through the front wheels and chassis. I soon became aware that I was lying on the ground some way from the vehicle and feeling somewhat broken and confused, how had I got here and what had happened? It did not take long for my colleagues, to their great credit, to make their way through an area that potentially contained more IEDs, to come to my assistance and administer first aid. Thankfully the other two crew on the vehicle also survived.
Although all three of us on that vehicle (after several months of rehab) did actually walk away, others have not been so lucky...
It is with this in mind that I am embarking on this fundraising endeavour along with other injured and damaged (many far more seriously than I) veterans.
Poppyscotland provides life-changing support to our Armed Forces community. They reach out to those who have served, those still serving, and their families at times of crisis and need by offering vital, practical advice, assistance and funding. Poppyscotland believe that those who serve or have served, whether regular or reserve, are deserving of support to live life fully without disadvantage after service. No veteran should live without the prospect of employment, good health and a home, and we all have a part to play in achieving this.
Poppyscotland is best known for running the iconic Scottish Poppy Appeal, but work all year round to help those who have served, those still serving and their families receive the care and support they urgently need.
I will ride seven long days on the road with other injured service personnel. We will cover over 660 kilometres and gain over 15,000m of vertical ascent, cycling from the Atlantic Coast to the Mediterranean through the majesty of the French Pyrenees. We will be taking in many of the classic Pyrenean Cols covered by the Tour de France and other prolific rides. Being one of the toughest European road rides this will be no mean feat particularly given that many of the participants are severely injured.
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