With the Provincial Grand Lodge of Devonshire entering a five-year festival this year, the Widows Sons South west Chapter were keen to add their support
How best to raise money for the Festival and combine motorbikes? That’s when their secretary Michael O'Meara came up with the idea to attempt the Saddlesore 1,000; the first of the Ironbutt Endurance Runs. Their aim was to ride 1,000 miles in 24 hours. A tough ordeal driving that far in such a short space of time, whilst sat on a tiny seat exposed to the elements.
The route was worked out, the date confirmed and a target was set to raise £1,000, however due to the generosity of family, friends and members the day the ride took place they had already raised £1,500 for the Masonic Charitable Foundation (MCF). In fact, this figure will eventually exceed £2,000.
The day finally came on Saturday 25th August 2018 and they met at Exeter Services with family and friends to see them on their way. They headed north towards Glasgow, stopping only for fuel, then turned east to Berwick on Tweed, when they arrived they were greeted by a piper, drummer and members from the Northumberland and Durham Chapter of the Widows Sons.
They then headed south on the return leg of the journey, accompanied by the Northumberland and Durham Chapter riders, stopping off at the Angel of the North for a photographic record of the occasion.
Continuing south they met up with members of the Yorkshire Chapter who had a small food package for each of the riders and rode with them part of the way, finally stopping for coffee at Peterborough Services just before midnight having racked up 791 miles in under 15 hours. Topped up, they set off once again heading south, skirting London before picking up the M4 heading west to Bristol. They arrived back at Exeter Services at 04.44 hours in the morning having travelled 1,099 miles in 19 hours 45mins.
It was a great achievement for Jim Hayward, Gary Thomas, Tom Kingman and Michael O’Meara. They had a day riding the length and breadth of the country, meeting friends old and new and doing what they love best as Widows Sons – but more importantly they raised funds for the MCF, whose hard work helps countless people and supports charities both masonic and non-masonic around the country.