Charity fund-raiser Bill Honeywell is preparing for two challenges in aid of soldiers’ causes as the First World War centenary approaches.
On June 16th, the Clitheroe estate agent will abseil for the second time 250ft from the top of the UK’s tallest roller-coaster, the Big One at Blackpool Pleasure Beach. Last year he was part of the first-ever abseil there.
Then, in August, Bill will cycle with 100 other riders from London to Dover then crossing to Calais to ride through areas of the Western Front that became infamous in the conflict.
Bill said: “The object of both challenges is to raise funds for ABF The Soldiers’ Charity, who give lifetime support to serving and retired soldiers and their families.
“This is a cause close to my heart. My wife Val’s nephew Rick Clement received horrific injuries in Afghanistan three years ago and has since campaigned endlessly for the same cause.
“It seems to me that as we approach the centenary of the start of the First World War, it would be appropriate to do something to help the charity.”
Bill is looking forward to a repeat of his hair-raising charity abseil at Blackpool. He said: “It was certainly an experience – but not quite as terrifying as actually riding the Big One later in the day.”
In August, the charity bike riders are to head from London to Calais for Niewpoort in Belgium and then cycle 300 miles along the Western Front.
They will visit the Menin Gate in Ypres, cycle to battlefields including Passchendaele, “Plug Street” and Vimy Ridge, visit the Thiepval Monument and cross The Somme before arriving in Compiegne, near Paris, where the Armistice was signed in November, 1918.
Bill is president of Clitheroe Rotary Club and event organiser for the forthcoming Ribble Valley Ride cycle event on June 8th, for the Rosemere Cancer Foundation.
“I’ve had quite a lot on my plate,” he says. “The minimum amount I need to raise on the Big One Abseil is £500, while £1,000 is required for the Wheels on the Western Front ride – but, of course, the aim is to raise as much as possible.
“If anyone can spare a few pounds it will be much appreciated.”
Bill has two Just Giving pages for donations. When the first page – www.justgiving.com/Bill-Honeywell1 – reaches its target of £500, it will be suspended and donations will then go to the second page, www.justgiving.com/Bill-Honeywell3
Donations can also be made from a smart phone; send a text to 70070 with the words ROPE74 and the amount to be donated (e.g. £5).
More details of the Western Front Ride can be found on www.greenjerseycycling.co.uk/soldierscharityride