Hundreds of cyclists turn out to take part in charity Tour Ride
FORMER RAF engineer Martin Raynes was joined by six of his civilian work mates to take part in a gruelling bike ride in aid of Help for Heroes.
The 23-year-old, from Norton, served a six-month tour of duty in the war-torn province in 2009, with RAF, 3 Squadron.
Martin, who left the forces last year, now works for John Hyde Engineering, based in Fenton.
Call WHITEGATES Today 01782 209935 ..Limited offer. Available only up on production of voucher. Sell your home for £399 plus vat.* #EPC is required to market your home not included in offer.
Terms: *Upfront payment, non-refundable in the event of property remaining unsold, being withdrawn from the market or being sold by another agent, yourself or by any other means.#EPC £62.50 plus vat.
Contact: 01782 209 935
Valid until: Thursday, July 04 2013
Yesterday, Martin and six other engineers joined 750 cyclists challenging themselves to complete The Tour Ride Stoke-on-Trent, which gave amateur riders the chance to experience the same route travelled by Bradley Wiggins, Mark Cavendish and other professionals in Stage 5 of the Tour of Britain.
Martin said: "I was doing security work in Afghanistan.
"It got a bit hairy sometimes – it's Afghanistan, you expect that.
"I've done a few charity events for Help for Heroes, I knew people in regiments who have benefited from them."
Colleague Paul Fradley, aged 54, of Rode Heath, said: "I did the ride last year for Prostate Cancer Support.
"I was asking about it this time at work, and with Martin being with us, we decided to do it for Help for Heroes.
"We've been going out riding at the weekends, it's been good fun."
Riders, who set out from Trentham Gardens early yesterday, had the chance to follow the 169km professional race route – which included more than 2,000 metres of climbing – or a shortened Challenge Ride over 98km, which missed out the steeper hills of the Staffordshire Moorlands.
Also taking part were staff nurses Christina Smith, aged 52, of Porthill, and Angela Hill, aged 47, of Waterhayes, who both work in the University Hospital of North Staffordshire's recovery unit.
Angela said: "We will be looking after ourselves when we get back to work after this race!
"We are Sunday riders, we go out every week."
Hydraulic engineer Ben Wyatt, aged 32, of Harriseahead, took part in the ride for five-year-old Ruby Owen, of Kidsgrove, who was treated in the U.S. for a brain tumour.
Ben, who works in Kidsgrove, said: "It was a bit last minute, but watching the Tour of Britain made me want to do it, and it is for a good cause.
"Being in Kidsgrove, it is a close knit area and everyone knows the family."