Bikers rally to masonic memorial gardens
An estimated 10,000 motorcyclists gathered during the annual Ride to the Wall event at the National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire in October, in memory of members of the Armed Services killed in action since the end of World War II.
Home to ‘The Wall’ – the 43-metre Armed Forces Memorial, constructed from Portland limestone – the Arboretum also encompasses the Freemasons Memorial Garden of Remembrance. Last year more than 60 masons from around the UK, mainly members of the Widows Sons Masonic Bikers Association, gathered there to pay their respects to fallen comrades, friends and relations.
Gresham goes to Guildhall
Pete Digby of Gresham Lodge, No. 7651, London, has completed a nine-day, 150-mile run from the National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire to Guildhall Yard in the City of London in support of the Afghanistan Trust.
Pete and his teammates Paul Milson and John Vergopolis arrived to cheers from City of London Police Commissioner Adrian Leppard, Sheriff Sir Paul Judge, Colonel Commandant of the Parachute Regiment Lieutenant General Jacko Page, half a dozen Chelsea Pensioners and other well-wishers.
To make the challenge even more gruelling, there was another ‘team member’ – a 250kg oven called Agatha, which Pete pulled behind him throughout the run.
Pete is a serving officer in the City of London Police, an ex-Parachute Regiment soldier and no stranger to a challenge, having run London Marathons carrying a fridge and a washing machine.
Thousands of bikers pay their respects to fallen members of the armed services at the National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire. The event was held on the eve of the 11th anniversary of the war in Afghanistan and W Bro David Murphy laid a wreath on behalf of the Brethren of Pegasus Forces Lodge No. 9393, the Parachute Regimental Association, and the British Airborne Forces Club.
Called Ride to the Wall, the event included many bikers with messages such as 'lest we forget' on their leather jackets. Attendees came from across Europe, either as individuals or in groups and chapters from particular organisations.
The riders paid tribute to the war dead in a service of remembrance at the walls of the Armed Forces Memorial in Alrewas, which is engraved with the names of more than 16,000 servicemen and women killed on duty or by terrorist action since the end of the Second World War. They gathered at one of the eight designated start points around the country to ride to the Arboretum, including Drayton Manor.
Organisers estimated about 15,000 people attended and funds raised at the ride will go to the upkeep of the arboretum. £150,000 has been raised since the first ride in 2008.