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Submariners mark end of gruelling charity cycle ride

By Ron Gordon

A GROUP of veterans from the Gosport Branch of the Submariner’s Association have expressed their delight and pride after completing the South Downs Way cycle challenge in a gruelling three-day journey ending at Eastbourne Pier last Friday (April 19); their success helping to raise over two thousand pounds for charity.

Team members Hector MacCallum (77), Peter Davies (79), John Buffery (78) and Ron Gordon (77) are all Submarine veterans; setting off from Winchester on Wednesday morning (April 17) after weeks of preparation. They were joined on their journey by Ian French (61), Kevin Ayton (65), Peter Mullice (78), who are associate members of the Gosport branch and the seven combined for a total of 515 years in age.

The group finished their 110-mile journey at 7:45pm last Friday evening and were met with a series of difficult elements; including rough terrains, flinty surfaces, difficult slopes, and harsh weather conditions particularly on the final day. Overall they rode a total ascent of 14,714 feet (4484 metres), which is three times the height of Ben Nevis at 4413 feet (1345 metres).

But there was many positives for the group as they sampled coffee shops and overnight stays along the route, as well as taking multiple pictures and creating some lasting memories. They also raised over a total of £2375 for Veterans Outreach Support (VOS); a charity that was chosen by the Gosport Branch Chairman due to its association with the town as it has the largest percentage of veterans in the country.

VOS welfare, wellbeing, and clinical provision to UK Armed Forces & Merchant Navy Veterans; as well as their spouses and partners. It was founded in 2008 as a peer support group after the pilgrimage to mark twenty-five years since the Falklands and has recently marked its fifteenth year in existence; becoming a registered charity in 2013.

Readers can continue to offer their donations to this cause via this JustGiving link, whilst they are also invited to explore the route taken by the group and details on the ‘South Downs Way’ here.

PICTURED BY RON GORDON: Group of submarine veterans and associate branch members celebrating finishing the cycle challenge at Eastbourne Pier last Friday evening (April 19).