Surrey Chapter UK Fund Raising Events
Over the years members of Surrey Chapter UK have supported numerous charity events and local organisations including a homeless hostel, schools for children with special needs and an orphanage in Africa. We have for example twice ridden all the River Thames crossings inside the M25, twice ridden 1000 miles in 24 hours, ridden Royal Enfields in India and climbed Mt Kilimanjaro. In total since 2004 we have raised over £100,000 for many good causes including the Anthony Nolan Trust, the Tadworth Children's Trust, the Sherwood Park School, the Cancer Research Unit in Guildford, Hampton Court Palace, OcuMel UK, Heron Lake Skiing for the Disabled, the Bedelsford School in Kingston and most recently MPN Voice which supports patients and research into Myeloproliferative Neoplasms - a group of rare blood cancers. There follows the story of our fund raising effort for the Headley Court Rehabilitation Centre.
One Sunday in May the members Surrey Chapter UK and their guests set of for St Katherine’s Dock, near Tower Bridge, at the start of a long, hot day riding 100 Harley Davidson’s across all the bridges in London to raise money to benefit the brave guys and gals at Headley Court working hard to recover from wounds sustained during their service of our country.
There had been a year of planning and organising before the event. Mark Newman deserves a special mention because he did so much of the organising, aided and abetted when necessary by a stalwart band of happy SCUK helpers; including Ian Flashman who arranged for a double-decker bus to transport our supporters and street collectors.
We were escorted by eight Metropolitan Police volunteers on six police motorcycles and in a command vehicle. Our own Road Captains, Road Marshalls also did a great job supporting the riders and the police officers.
We set off at 11.00 but within 500 yards were brought to a halt by a road closed due to some emergency road works but our police friends stopped the traffic and enabled us and the bus to contra-flow up a one way street to get us back on our carefully planned route.
We continued over London, Southwark, Blackfriars and Westminster Bridges stopping now and then to rattle our buckets while we sounded our horns, sirens and revved our engines.
Continuing we eventually rolled into the Royal Hospital Chelsea where we were met by some charming pensioners in all their finery and gave some of them a ride to remember around the hospital grounds.
After a quick refreshment break we set off down the crowded King’s Road, through the crowd of supporters exiting for a Chelsea Football Club match.
We crossed the next bridges as far as Hampton Court Palace where we were met by crowds of supporters and the general public. As the rain started to fall heavily we rode the remaining bridges as far as the M25 and then headed for the Cock Inn at Headley where a BBQ and a band awaited us.
We are pleased to acknowledge the help, support and encouragement SCUK received from Susan and the gang at the Cock Inn, Headley. Susan took over the pub in 2008 since when she has been tireless in her support for the people from Headley Court.
It was all a very moving but happy experience when in the following September we were able to present a cheque for £32,054.61p to Major Teri Mason at The Cock Inn on behalf of the members of Surrey Chapter UK. It was used to buy a Gait Analysis machine to maximise the recovery rate and walking abilities of amputees.
The money was donated or raised by all the members, especially those who rode with us on the day. However, with her incredible total of nearly £6,000 Foxy Lebeau deserves a special mention and she and her twin sister Pat volunteered to be the front ladies for the press photos wearing their SCUK tee shirts.
The Headley Court Rehabilitation Centre acknowledged our efforts very publically when 4 Majors, 5 Captains, 4 Lieutenants and 1 RSM were in attendance. A Royal Marine Major said it’s fantastic that we raised so much money and enjoyed ourselves so much while doing it! There were also several injured soldiers in addition to the three more obvious ones in their wheel chairs. Seeing those guys’ guts and determination puts your own problems into a real perspective. It was very humbling and yet uplifting that they were so upbeat. We sincerely wish them all the very best in the future with everything they try to achieve.