Veterans raise awareness of injured colleagues at Rasen cycling event

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More than 150 veterans, along with friends and supporters, will be taking part in ‘The Arrow’ Sportive at Market Rasen on Saturday May 6 to raise awareness of military charity Blesma, The Limbless Veterans.

A number of the group, including team organiser Jonathan Bell, will be completing the 100-mile cycling route on hand-cycles.

Jonathan, a Member of Blesma, was injured with a number of his colleagues from 1st Battalion, The Green Howards while they were on a pre-deployment training exercise on Salisbury Plain in 1993.

As a result of the accident, Jonathan was left paralysed from the upper chest, with severe head and leg injuries, and a foot amputation.

Since his injury, Jonathan, from Weybridge, has had a successful career as a journalist, including working for the BBC, and has found a passion for cycling.

He has taken part in Blesma cycling activities both in the UK and in Belgium with other wounded veterans.

Jonathan said: “This huge turnout shows what a group of former soldiers and their friends really care about - they care what happens to the guys that got hurt along the way and they want to show their support for a charity that does extraordinary work.”

Amongst the Blesma members attending will also be Paralympic gold medallist Jon-Allan Butterworth MBE, who won gold in the Team Sprint event at the Rio Paralympic Games last year.

In 2007, he lost his left arm in an insurgent rocket attack in Iraq while serving as an RAF weapons technician.

Jon-Allan said: “I’m really looking forward to joining the group, especially the other Blesma Members, on this ride.

“It’s a great achievement to such a large group together all with the same goal of raising awareness of Blesma’s important work.”

The cyclists will set off from Market Rasen Racecourse, between 8am and 9.30am.

○Blesma, The Limbless Veterans is the national charity for all limbless service men and women, their widows and dependants. It was formed in the years following the First World War and became a national charity in 1932.