Military wives kickstart mega challenge to cycle 2020 miles to save this year’s Poppy Appeal
MILITARY wives, led by a former army officer and Para’s wife, have joined forces to raise money for the Poppy Appeal this year.
On Saturday, dozens of women with partners in the military are taking part in the Forces Wives Challenge – a virtual bike ride to raise at least £2,020 for the Royal British Legion.
And YOU can join in too by signing up and logging your miles online.
Organiser mum-of-two Heather Sharp says: “You can cycle one mile or 100 miles, it doesn’t matter, just send your distance to us that day.
“Our aim is to cycle a total of 2020 miles. The more people that get involved, the more miles we do and the more money we raise for the Royal British Legion.”
Para’s wife Heather served 10 years in the Royal Engineers, leaving the regular Army as a Major in 2014, to look after her two sons.
Heather, 35 from Surrey, says: “Having been on both sides of the fence, I can say it is hard being a forces wife.
“I decided I wanted to give some of those women who hold the fort at home the opportunities I’ve had in the military for adventure and challenge.”
In 2018 Heather set up Forces Wives Challenge and led a group of military spouses to climb Ojos del Salado in Chile.
How to be a poppy star
THE pandemic may have stopped thousands of sellers from hitting the streets — but it doesn’t have to stop you from buying a poppy. MIKE RIDLEY looks at some of the ways you can do your bit for the appeal by going to:
- Fundraise for appeal: Move to Remember and the 11/11 Challenge are among the fundraising suggestions from the appeal itself. Free fundraising packs on the website will give the help and support you will need.
- Poppies in the post: Help make up for the reduced number of volunteer collectors by requesting 20 poppies free of charge from the RBL — and then giving them to friends and family yourself in return for a donation.
- My poppy run 2020: Run, walk or jog any distance, anywhere and at any time. Get family and friends involved to raise cash. And buy a T-shirt to run in and a medal to give to yourself afterwards!
- Visit the poppy shop: There is an extensive range of products from poppy pins and jewellery to clothing, stationery and homeware. All profits fund the Legion’s work in supporting the Armed Forces community.
- Make online donation: Alternatively, you could just visit the British Legion’s website and make a donation. You can choose a one-off payment or set up a regular amount — and no amount is too small.
…OR POP INTO YOUR LOCAL SAINSBURY’S, TESCO, ASDA, ALDI OR MORRISONS AND BUY A POPPY
The Forces Wives stood on the 22,650-feet-high summit of the world’s highest volcano on International Women’s day – March 8 – last year.
Their challenge raised just under £10,000 for the Royal British Legion.
And when it became apparent that this year’s Poppy Appeal would be affected by the Covid crisis, which means far fewer collects will be on the streets, the forces wives came up with a new challenge.
Heather says: “The British Legion believed in us from the start and we now have 600 members.
“We wanted to help the charity and came up with a virtual challenge.”
There is no limit to how many people – men, women and children – can take part in Saturday’s virtual bike ride.
Just log on to the official website and register. Then do as many miles as you like on Saturday and log your mileage.
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Heather, who will be doing 15 miles on her mountain bike in the countryside around the family’s home in Surrey, says: “It is free of charge and you will be helping the Poppy Appeal to help veterans and their families in years to come.”
The Sun, backed by celebs from David Beckham to Captain Tom Moore and PM Boris Johnson, is campaigning hard for the Poppy Appeal.
You can also download a Poppy Appeal fundraising pack on the Royal British Legion’s Poppy Appeal website rbl.org.uk/poppyappeal.