Charity ride to pass through Honiton as it delivers baton’s message

The Baton has received widespread support since it was created. Here, Alan Rowe is pictured receivin

The Baton has received widespread support since it was created. Here, Alan Rowe is pictured receiving a cheque from David Todd, of Honiton Rugby Club, last August. - Credit: Archant

An ex-army chief will pay homage to a Honiton-based charity for its work in increasing awareness for servicemen and women.

On Sunday, June 21, 100 wounded soldiers will cycle into Windsor from across the UK and France as part of the Ride for heroes event for Help for Heroes.

They will be carrying four batons created by the Baton Charity, and will call into Honiton on the way.

Founder Alan Rowe MBE used the ends of a stretcher bought back from Camp Bastion, Afghanistan, to create the batons that contain a message of gratitude to servicemen and women and their families.

Mr Rowe said: “It is a different way to make people aware. That is the hardest thing - how do you keep awareness up for our servicemen and women and their families, especially the women who hold the home together?”

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“It is a really big compliment to have Help For Heroes visit us.”

The Ride For Heroes team will stop at the war memorial at St Paul’s Church, Honiton, on Thursday, June 18, at 11am.

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Mr Rowe hopes that as many residents as possible can turn up to receive the team, which is made up of nine disabled cyclists and 20 supporting riders.

The charity has received worldwide recognition for its work with the batons travelling all over the world.

The 64-year-old said: “We are reaching out to the world from a little town in East Devon.”

On arrival in Windsor, the riders will be joined by their fellow soldiers and up to 3,000 fundraisers to hear the message read out by retired army officer Lord Richard Dannatt.

Mr Rowe said: “To have someone of Lord Dannatt and his calibre share our message is amazing. When I had the idea for the stretcher it was like a light bulb; it shows teamwork because there are four people carrying the stretcher - if one slips up they all fall. It shows they are working for the good of humanity.

“A stretcher doesn’t discriminate between friend, foe or civilian.”

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