Ride for the Few

  |  Published: Sep 12th 2015
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RAF Halton Motorcycle Club, along with the wider RAF motorcycle community, took part in the Ride for the Few this week, a charity motorbike event as part of the 75th anniversary commemorations of the Battle of Britain.  The goal was to ride some 544 kilometres, which is one kilometre for each pilot killed during the battle.

The riders formed up outside St George’s church from 0630 onwards and departed just after 0730 on a dry and sunny day, what you would call an ‘awesome biking day’.   Split into four groups (Spitfire, Mosquito, Hurricane and Blenheim) and led by Warrant Officer Shaun Griffin, Flight Sergeant Pete Fletcher, MAcr Steve Barker and Squadron Leader Dave Roe, the riders visited four sites in North West London – the RAF museum in Hendon, the old fighter HQ at Bentley Priory museum, the Polish War Memorial in Northolt and the Battle of Britain Bunker at Uxbridge.

The groups then met up at Kenley where they were hosted by the local RAF Association Branch and given enough tea, coffee, biscuits and cakes to sink the proverbial battleship, thanks to the RAFA branch Chairman, Mr Mike Roach, for hosting the Ride for the Few.

From Kenley the riders moved across to the RAF Chapel at Biggin Hill, a base that was centric in the fight against the German Luftwaffe in 1940.  Then it was off down the M25 and M20 towards Folkestone. 

During this leg, two of the groups met up and created a group of nearly 50 bikes moving along the motorway, and on arrival at Capel-Le-Ferne they formed up around the Battle of Britain memorial, where Sqn Ldr Dave Roe led a short reflection on those that had paid the ultimate sacrifice and laid a wreath on behalf of the riders and the RAF Halton motorcycle club.

Master Aircrew Steve Barker told the story, saying: “The last airfield that Ride for the Few visited was RAF Manston.  Many riders enjoyed the ride from Capel-Le-Ferne with the coast on one side, the sun streaming down and the occasional roundabout to break up the monotony of the motorways.  The next leg was the push to the services on the M2 where Ride for the Few dispersed after the a final brief.  However, this still left some 144km for the ride leaders to complete on the final leg around the M25 and back home,  arriving back some 12 hours after departing RAF Halton with tired and weary bodies, but with a huge sense of achievement after the six months of planning. Time for a soak in the bath and a well-deserved beer.

A big thank you and well done to Warrant Officer Shaun Griffin for putting Ride for the Few together and raising over £2000 for the RAFA Wings Appeal.

Warrant Officer Griffin said: “To mark the significant 75th anniversary of the Battle of Britain I had a mind to plan a large charity event to mark the occasion and to honour the “few”, in addition to this I wanted to support a charity that is close to my heart. I have been involved in the Royal Air Force Association for 16 years now, as Branch RAFA Liaison Officer, (RAFALO) and Station RAFA Liaison Officer, I am currently the RAFALO for the Letchworth Hitchin and District Branch in Hertfordshire.The enduring passion in my life has been motorcycles for as long as I can remember, so it seemed the natural conclusion to plan a motorcycle ride to include the Battle of Britain and raise cash for the Royal Air Force Association. The plan was hatched from a small acorn that flourished to be a large oak tree, culminating in 75 motorcyclists riding around the most significant Battle of Britain heritage sites, a total distance of 544km which represented one km for each pilot or aircrew killed during the Battle of Britain period. At the time of writing RAF Halton Motorcycle Club had raised £2029.80 for the RAFA Wings Appeal.”

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