Cyclists pedal to Paris from Crystal Palace FC

Brendan Wesr

Brendan Wesr

First published in News by , Senior Reporter

A total of 300 cyclists set off on a bike ride to Paris on Thursday to raise money for The Royal British Legion.

The Pedal to Paris ride began at Crystal Palace FC, with a number of cyclists invited onto the pitch before setting off.

Moments before riders set off an image of the red poppy was show on the screen in Selhurst Park.

The four day 460km bike ride cumulates in a ride up the Champs Elysée, followed by a memorial service at the Arc de Triomphe.

It will shut specially for the cyclists, with the Tour De France the only other cycling event which receives this honour.

A team of four ex-servicemen are representing the North Bushey branch of the Legion in the ride.

Single leg amputee Brendan West, Paul Watts and Gavin West all served in the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers, while Paul Brogden served in the 3rd Battalion The Light Infantry.

Mr Brogden said: "We're all doing the event to raise the profile of what the Legion is doing to support new generations of war veterans, especially those who have fought and are currently fighting in Afghanistan."

Russell Thompson, director of national events and fundraising, said: "We’re very grateful to all the cyclists taking part in the Pedal to Paris challenge.

"Apart from the training that has gone into preparing for a long distance ride such as this, the money raised by participants will make a real difference to the lives of those we support.

"Last year, the Legion spent £90 million supporting serving and ex-Service people and their dependents by providing financial, social and emotional assistance to those in need."

Pedal to Paris is expected to end on September 2.

To make a donation visit britishlegion.org.uk

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