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Mammoth 2014 cycle challenge set to start for Melksham man

John Marable.

John Marable.

A RETIRED army sergeant  from Melksham who has raised over £25,000 for Help for Heroes by completing a series of cycle challenges, is set to start another in Vietnam.  

John Marble has already raised over a thousand pounds for this year’s effort following a video race night at the Conservative Club last week raised £1,358. This will boost his preparation to start the 2014 challenge in South-East Asia.

The former soldier suffered an injury whilst serving in the military in 1982 and since retiring, has done as much as he can to help those that have suffered physically and psychologically as a result of conflict.

He first started his charity cycle challenges in 2010 and has completed one every year since, with the combined fundraising total at £25,241.25 and even more set to be added with this year’s effort.

The 2014 challenge begins soon when John will cycle 350 miles through Vietnam, taking in the most significant combat sites from the Vietnam War.

The second leg of this year’s charity cycle challenge takes place in June, with another 350 miles to be covered from Brussels to Paris as part of The Big Battlefield Bike Ride (BBBR). In the centenary year, remembering the start of World War 1, the journey across Belgium and France will retrace the early years of the Great War, riding alongside the injured and wounded.

The final part of the challenge takes place in London for the Hero Ride. Also in June, John will join hundreds of other riders for the last 10 miles, stopping at The Cenotaph to mark 100 years since  the outbreak of World War 1.

John, who has a fundraising target of £8,000 for this year’s challenge said, “I am deeply indebted to the Conservative Club for their hospitality on using their facilities to hold the race night and to the people of Melksham who have already shown me so much support for the 2014 effort.

“I do this every year but with this being a centenary year, it will be extra special and the routes I will be taking in are very poignant.

“The Vietnam and Brussels to Paris route will be a physically challenging ride covering some 350 miles on each route and will also be an emotional experience and I will be riding with injured men and women from the UK and USA.

“The challenges are less than those faced on a daily basis by our troops, and in particular, the wounded. Your generosity will provide real practical and direct support for the men and women of the armed forces wounded in service or action.  This year more than ever your help and support is needed to sustain the effort and help in the future.

“The injuries many soldiers suffer, including those that can’t be seen such as psychological scars, make life difficult for many serving and ex-soldiers. To help out in any way we can for a great cause is fantastic.”

To sponsor John on his cycle challenge you can visit Gaming Galore, Cobblers Bench and Ashers cafe where collection points are available or visit secure fundraising page www.bmycharity.com/John Marable2014