A Whittlesey corporal is taking on a mammoth 800-mile cycle challenge from Belfort in France to Oxford United’s Kassam stadium to raise money for charity.
Army recruitment centre co-ordinator, Corporal Paul Ingham (35), is one of four soldiers who have joined forces to form a team calling themselves Run 2 Recovery (R2R), to raise money for Combat Stress, the UK’s leading mental health charity for veterans and Oxford United’s Community Sports Trust.
R2R start pedalling from Belfort in France on Wednesday July 27 and will be finishing Friday August 5 at the Oxford United stadium to hand over the match ball at a pre-season game on the August 6.
Paul and his friends say the cause is close to their hearts: “One of our friend’s took his life whilst battling with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) on his own. Now we’re doing what we can to make sure that no one has to suffer like that.
“This challenge also commemorates the Battle of the Somme. The route will go to Cambari, Mons and Ypres, crossing the English Channel at Dunkirk to Dover, and then onto London before finishing in Oxford. I’ve trained hard for this event due as I’m a bit of a novice cyclist. We hope to raise £100,000, this is a symbolic number as it’s the centenary of the Battle of the Somme.”
Robert Marsh, Director of Fundraising at Combat Stress, said: “We are delighted that Paul has chosen to raise money for Combat Stress.
“We are continuing to see a rise in referrals as veterans across the UK seek our support. We want to be there for every veteran who needs us, so the fundraising undertaken by people like the R2R team is vital in ensuring we can continue to help every ex-service man and woman who turns to us for treatment and support.”
Oxford United’s Chairman, Darryl Eales, said: “I’m proud Oxford United is supporting these guys in helping them to achieve this huge fundraising effort. It’s an epic challenge and one we wish them the best of luck with. We’re looking forward to welcoming them home at the stadium when they finish.”
To sponsor Paul and his friends please visit: https://campaign.justgiving.com/charity/oufc-youthandcommunitysportstrust/r2rcycle or donate by texting RRCT22 £amount to 70070. To find out more information on the cycle ride and how to participate contact Oxford United Football Club Community Trust 01865 337501.