03 Sep WOUNDED VETERAN DUO set off from Berwick on 800 mile cycle to recovery
Two Help for Heroes (H4H) beneficiaries are to set off from Berwick today (3 September) on a challenge of a lifetime riding through Britain.
Former Royal Engineer Steve Craddock and Naval veteran Lee Patmore will cycle from Berwick to Dover in a bid to raise funds for Help for Heroes to support their wounded comrades and Team Rubicon UK. Instead of taking the usual route down the country Steve and Lee, who rides a recumbent bike due to his illness powered entirely by his arms, will take on an even longer route, 800 miles, hugging the east coast of the UK as they pedal south.
These diversions will add almost 200 miles to the route and will mean cycling up hills, totalling a whopping 30,000ft – the equivalent of more than the height of Mount Everest. Last year the pair took on a similar challenge from John O’ Groats to Land’s End, visiting all of the Help for Heroes Recovery Centres along the way This year they will also be joined by Australia veterans Brent New and his father Stan, who are flying over to the UK to take part in the epic challenge.
The team will leave Berwick Barracks at 8.30am (Monday 3 September). Their send-off will include a Ceremony with a piper and Cadet guard of honour. They will be escorted by Berwick motorcycle club and vintage military vehicles past the town hall and out of Berwick, before heading down 62 miles down the Northumberland coast to their first overnight stop at Newbiggen by the sea.
Steve Craddock has won a prestigious Hero Award and a Prime Minister’s Point of Light award for his dedication to fundraising over £450,000 for H4H since leaving the military. He has put on more than 80 events and ridden 5,000 miles in aid of the charity. For retired Sergeant Steve from Kent, who was diagnosed with PTSD 10 years ago, being able to raise money and run events to help other wounded, injured and sick Servicemen and women is a key part of his own personal recovery journey.
While talking about his inspiration to take the ride on, Steve said: “I think it’s important for people to support Help for Heroes because over the next 20 years many more guys are going to have mental health issues; guys
who have physical injuries might get the mental health issues as well and I think we need to be there for them for the long-run. We did promise them support for life and we need to do our bit.”
The physical toll of this monumental challenge is made even more difficult due to Lee’s condition, Fibromyalgia, which causes heightened pain and extreme tiredness. Lee, from Essex, a former Able Seaman will be taking on the journey on a custom-made recumbent hand bike.
Lee found the transition from military life to civilian incredibly hard. Not only had he left the job he had set his heart on but was in constant pain to the point he was prescribed morphine to dull it. Help for Heroes gave Lee the opportunity through its Sports Recovery programme to try out archery and grant funded Lee’s first wheelchair but adapting to life as a wheelchair user was another challenge he faced.