Estate agent and charity fund-raiser Bill Honeywell has returned after a 400-mile bike ride to commemorate the centenary of the start of the First World War and raise funds for ABF The Soldiers’ Charity.
Starting out from Horse Guards Parade on exactly the 100th anniversary of the start of the Great War, Bill rode with more than 50 other cyclists, many of them servicemen or ex-servicemen, past Buckingham Palace, down The Mall and then more than 90 miles to Dover and Calais on the first day. The route then took the riders to Nieuwpoort, the point at which the Western Front met the North Sea, and Ypres, where the party laid a wreath.
The route then continued along the Western Front to Arras and Albert on the Somme, visiting many Commonwealth War Grave sites and places of historical significance, including Vimy Ridge, the Thiepval Monument and Lochnagar Crater, before ending last Friday at Compiegne outside Paris, where the Armistice was signed in a railway carriage on November 11th, 1918.
Altogether the cyclists raised more than £75,000 and donations are still being received.
Bill said: “I visited the Somme a few years ago and was pleased to get the chance to return, this time on my more usual mode of transport. The weather was mixed, with some torrential downpours, but our discomfort was nothing compared to that of the soldiers 100 years ago, or even today.
“Some of the sites leave you quite emotional, but the experience really was a chance in a lifetime.”
Donations to ABF The Soldiers’ Charity can still be made at: www.justgiving.com/Bill-Honeywell3
In June, Bill abseiled off the top of The Big One in Blackpool for the same charity.