Bro. James Hayes

Bro. James's Reconciliation Cycle - May 28th to June 5th 2016

Fundraising for The Royal British Legion
raised of £2,500 target
by 47 supporters
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The Royal British Legion

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RCN 219279
We provide a lifetime of care and support to the UK Armed Forces and their families


Dear friends,

I'm starting to prepare for my next sponsored cycle, this one being for the Royal British Legion, and would like to invite you to sponsor me via

I set off on May 28th by bicycle from Berlin, cycling for 9 days (c. 950 mls), reaching Arromanches (Normandy, N. France) on June 5th,

Back in November of last year I invited (in my role as school Chaplain) representatives of the Royal British Legion to come and speak to our pupils in assemblies about their work, in the context of Remembrance Day (November 11th). Their testimonies, combined with the moving video that they showed us awakened the desire in me to do my next sponsored cycle for the Legion.

But, with Pope Francis having announced a Year of Mercy for 2016 I see this ride as also being a symbolic gesture of reconciliation, mercy and solidarity between our peoples.

I have an ancestral link with Germany itself as 2 of my great-grandparents were German (making me 1/4 German). They emigrated to Ireland in the middle of the 19th century. An increased interest in all things German has led me to ride to Germany on each of my last 2 sponsored rides (Southampton to Berlin in 2010 and Lourdes to Fulda in 2014).

Cycling has given me an enormous amount of pleasure in my life, as well as improved health and lasting friendships. Through sponsored cycles that I undertake generally once every two years (now 13 accomplished in total) I try to give something to others in gratitude for what I have received, raising money for different causes, including my congregation's missions in developing countries (e.g. rides for schools in Togo, Senegal, Uganda, Haiti, etc…).

En route I will be taking a detour via Dresden. I will also be going through the Somme region in Northern France. In preparation for my ride I discovered that 3 of my great uncles from Ireland died fighting for the Allies during the First World War, 2 of them at the Battle of the Somme. Their names are inscribed on the Thiepval Memorial at which I will pay my respects. I also hope to attend the annual D-Day Memorial Service at Bayeux Cathedral, Normandy on June 6th, the day after my arrival at the D-Day beaches.

About the charity

The Royal British Legion

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RCN 219279
We are the UK's leading charity providing financial, social and emotional support to millions who have served and are currently serving in the British Armed Forces and their dependents.

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