Chatburn man and ex-Commando soldier Michael Bale has quadrupled his original fund raising target on completion of his bike ride from John O’Groats to Lands End.
Michael (41), of Ribblesdale View has amassed a grand total of £3,000 for the Help for Heroes charity and £1,000 for the North West Air Ambulance, after setting himself an initial target of £500 for each of his chosen causes.
After serving in the 59 Independent Commando Squadron Royal Engineers for 10 years, Michael, who now runs his own car valeting business, explained why he was compelled to embark on the trip: “After serving myself in some of the places where our armed forces are still in action, I know how lucky I am to have come back in one piece. I wanted to raise money for those who are not so lucky. My other charity was chosen as a friend of mine was injured in a car accident and probably wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for the air ambulance, who do a fantastic job.”
He continued: “My personal highlight of the trip was reaching the Commando memorial at Spean Bridge, where the first commandos were trained in the Second World War. We had time to have a look around the small memorial garden and then dropped down into Fort William, where we were given free evening meal, bed and breakfast at a hotel, which was so good of them.”
Michael’s good friend David Stratton, also of Chatburn, leant a helping hand by driving the support vehicle for Michael and his fellow rider from Devon, who also took part in the challenge. He followed every step of the way, providing meals and driving ahead to await the duo’s arrival at each of their planned stops.
“The hardest part was being saddle sore, so it really was a welcome relief when we eventually saw the sign saying it was just 25 miles to Lands End. We were elated when we arrived, but at the end of the day, to the tourists who were there, we were just another two lads on their bikes!”