Andy Murden report and photos: BACTA Bikers for Help for Heroes

06/06/2012

The riders who met at the National Memorial Arboretum were Dave Orton (Honda), myself (Suzuki)  my wife Gemma (Suzuki), Nik and Elaine Novak (Harley), Tony Slater (Harley), Bob Rudd (Suzuki scooter), Graham, Sharp (BMW) and Murray McDougal (Kawasaki) who had ridden down from Edinburgh to join us for the first time!

We rode down to Portsmouth to meet up with Mike Cloakie (Honda) and Phil Silver (Honda) outside a chippy organised by Billy Edwards and George Peak. Unfortunately Bob Rudd collided with a bollard in a manoeuvre to park his bike which sent him crashing to the ground which was a shock for all of us, but more so for Bob. Sadly this meant that Bob couldn’t continue the trip as he was carted off to hospital with suspected broken bones but as the old soldier he is, he strongly urged us to continue and not to worry about him  as his family were coming down from Newcastle upon Tyne to be with him. Having been treated to fish n chips by our generous hosts we set off for the ferry terminal and got busy collecting money from those waiting to board the ferry who were only too happy to give recognising our help for heroes vests.

The overnight crossing to Caen went without incident and we were up at 5am ready to disembark. We had set ourselves the task of visiting all 5 beaches in one day, gathering at St Mere Eglise and working back towards Caen via the beaches; Utah, Omaha, Juno, Gold and Sword.  Once again the collection tins were out and being fed with Euros, pounds and even dollars by all the well wishers that we encountered en route. This was a full but very rewarding day.

Later in the weekend we revisited Gold Beach to visit the museum and the 360 cinema and were fortunate to meet up with a squad of Royal Marines who were being shown around the Normandy sites as part of their training. They were only too happy to pose with us for the photo attached. From there we went to the American Cemetery just above Omaha beach where seeing the massive number of immaculately kept graves and the memorials was a very sobering experience.

The return ferry landed us back at Portsmouth whereupon those that could stopped off at Royal Wooton Bassett for a final poignant photo and then back home.  I am pleased to report that all bikers arrived home safely without incident.On this trip as always always we shared lively banter and a few beers whilst putting the world to rights.  Bob’s company was greatly missed though and we all wish him a speedy recovery. Word is he’s already looking to join us on our next adventure subject to permission from she who must be obeyed! Please pass our thanks to all those who have already generously donated to our cause. So far we have collected  over £3,200, and hope to increase this to the magic £4,000 target we set ourselves. All money goes directly to Help For Heroes just by clicking on www.bmycharity.com/bactabikers. Every little helps!

Andy Murden on behalf of The BACTA BIKERS.

Click on the pdf link below to see the photo album

The Bacta Bikers Normandy Invasion

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