A ROYAL Navy commander from Barnham is cycling from Brussels to Paris to raise money for Help For Heroes.
“For me as a member of the armed forces, it’s one of the many service charities that we try to support,” said Geoff Bewley, 55, of Ewens Gardens.
“For me personally, because I’ve met some people who have been injured in Afghanistan, what Help For Heroes do – specifically for rehabilitation – is just very emotive because these guys – having lost limbs and so forth – are predominantly very positive.”
Between June 2 and 6 he will take to the saddle to ride in the charity’s Big Battlefield Bike Ride, starting in Belgium, which follows the 335-mile route of the western front all the way into France.
“It’s in two week and I’m getting a bit nervous about the distance,” he said, adding he had done a 100-mile ride before.
A member of the Bognor Regis Cycling Club, he said he was a keen social cyclist, but this would be the longest distance he had ridden.
Geoff raised £1,000 cycling outside the Sainsbury’s store, in Westhampnett Road, Chichester, on May 3.
On May 17, he returned to the store to present a shopping trolley full of food to the winner of a raffle held at the same time.
While he was cycling outside the supermarket, he received around £1,000 in donations, £300 of which was from a competition to win a trolley of food provided by Sainsbury’s.
People paid to guess the total value of food in the trolley, with the winner taking it home.
Margaret Schofield, of Cambrai Avenue, Chichester, was only 14p out with her guess of £75.
“Help For Heroes is something we contribute to if we see a box,” she said afterwards.
Jo Yorke, general manager at the Chichester Sainsbury’s, said: “Working in the community is one of Sainsbury’s values. We’re really proud of all the work we do.”
Commander Bewley returns to Barnham at weekends, but during the week serves on the staff at the NATO headquarters in Northwood, London.
He started training for the charity ride just after Christmas and contacted Sainsbury’s head office to see if they could help him with fundraising.
They offered him the opportunity to spend a day outside the store raising money and general manager at the Chichester branch Kay Goucher offered a trolley full of goods to be raffled.
He was supported on the day by family and friends.
To sponsor Geoff, visit www.bmycharity.com/CommanderGeoffBewleysBigBattlefieldRide2014