Triumph Motorcycles is encouraging riders to get on their bikes this summer for the Thankful Villages Run, a nine – day charity ride to all 51 villages in the United Kingdom that were fortunate enough to have all their soldiers return home alive at the end of the Great War in 1918.
Because their military heroes returned, the villages – nicknamed ‘Thankful Villages’ – have no traditional war memorial and the bravery of their young men on the front line is often forgotten, though many who left to fight were scarred physically and mentally by their ordeal.
The Thankful Villages Run, which is due to take place between 27th July and 4th August 2013, is the brainchild of motorcyclists Dougie Bancroft and Medwyn Parry and appropriately aims to raise £51,000 in aid of the Royal British Legion.
Triumph, who supplied 30,000 motorcycles to the allied forces in WW1, is loaning two motorcycles to the duo, to enable them to undertake this historic tour.
Starting from mid Wales, Bancroft and Parry will be using Triumph’s latest tourer, the Trophy, to cover over 2,500 miles in just nine days. The pair will visit every village where they will present the residents, who include descendants of those who survived the Great War, with a commemorative slate plaque and certificate as remembrance of their contribution. Both Triumph Trophies feature a bespoke poppy field design to help them stand out on the road during their trip and act as a visual link to the Royal British Legion.
Guy Masters, general manager of Triumph UK, said: “We are proud to be supporting Dougie and Medwyn with their unique project. The Thankful Villages story is one that not many people are aware of, and hopefully this project will do a great deal to help rectify this.
“We owe a huge debt of gratitude not only to those that took part in the First World War, but also to those that have made similar sacrifices in subsequent conflicts. Indeed, many are still doing so today and the Royal British Legion provides invaluable support to UK service personnel past and present. We wish Dougie and Medwyn both all the best in their goal of raising the £51,000.”
Dougie Bancroft, from the Thankful Villages Run, said: “Both Medwyn and I have been overwhelmed by the generosity of Triumph and all our other sponsors. We can’t wait to hit the road on the two bikes. The incredible support and assistance Triumph has shown us has enabled us to concentrate on the important job of speaking to the villages to ensure we can raise our goal of £51,000 for the Royal British Legion.”
Next year marks 100 years since the start of the ‘war to end all wars’ and the Thankful Villages Run has garnered strong support across the political spectrum and is being embraced by the local communities of each village, plus the Royal British Legion’s motorcycle clubs.
The journey starts at Llanfihangel y Creuddyn, near Aberystwyth at 8:00am on Saturday 27th July and finishes at the same point at about 7:30pm on Sunday 4th August.
Riders of any bikes are warmly encouraged to join in for any part of the trip, though they would be encouraged to make a minimum donation of £5 per bike per day for the Thankful Villages Run. Further details of the ride, including a complete schedule, are available on the Thankful Villages Run website, www.thankfulvillage.com.
“Joining us is easy – just check out the schedule, arrive with a full tank and remember that it is a ride of respect, rather any kind of race or endurance test,” adds Medwyn Parry, military historian and co – organiser of the Thankful Villages.