Organiser and branch Communications Officer Martin Derbyshire explained: “I have had the idea for a sponsored cycle ride since completing the experience with a friend 3 years ago. I spoke to our branch chairman Major Brian Thomas and we agreed that the 2016 Poppy Appeal would be the perfect beneficiaries of the proposed ride. So we then set about enticing keen cyclists to join us and I am delighted that, although we lost one rider to injury, we still have 14 confirmed riders for the 2016 ‘Poppy Ride’ which will take place between the 18 – 24 September. This includes two ladies, a Frenchman, several OAP’s and the oldest cyclist is 72 years young. We aim to set off at around 8.30am on the Sunday morning from the Olive Press Bowling Club in Lapta on the north coast. Heading eastwards along the coast roads to the Apostolos Andreas Monastery in the Karpaz before turning west and heading all along the southern coastline towards Paphos, then cycling northwards over the shoulder of the Troodos mountain before heading eastwards again along the northern coastline to finish back at the clubhouse on Saturday lunchtime where a BBQ and party will await us.”
Major Thomas added: “This is a fantastic experience for us all to be involved with and with many of us not having done much cycling before. We are currently peddling 3 times a week in training covering up to 100 miles per week in the roasting weather. Most have bought a new bike for the occasion and we are all paying all the costs involved ourselves, including accommodation, petrol and food charges, although our sponsors have kindly paid for our cycling shorts and shirts, so that all the sponsorship monies raised goes directly to the Poppy Appeal. Last year the branch sent back nearly £17,000 to the Appeal so we aim to raise as much as we can again this year, and the Poppy Ride seemed a perfect way of doing this. We have passed the £1,500 total already in sponsorship and the expat community are right behind us with this project. As a branch we also hold a Poppy Ball, Poppy Walk and a Pantomime in November which will also add money to the Appeal. With nearly 350 members we are a thriving branch now in our 6th year of existence. We are blessed to have our main sponsor’s Creditwest bank on board and we also now have Astute FMA sponsoring us along with Footloose Footcare Ltd in Alsancak.”
Miss Figen Kaymak, the Çatalköy branch and expat Executive Manager for Creditwest Bank said: “As Creditwestbank we are proud to support the Royal British Legion which is a very worthwhile charity here in the TRNC. .We are very happy to be sponsoring such a different and challenging island-wide event and we would like to thank all that are taking part and wish them a safe and enjoyable ride.”
Astute FMA director Scott Kennedy said: “FMA are proud to be sponsors of the Poppy Ride, we are delighted to help and assist the local community and we fully appreciate the work and effort of all the poppy riders and support teams, raising money for a worthy charity, well done guys and gals!”.
Meanwhile Susannah Birt of Footloose Footcare Ltd said: “My father served in the RAF so we are more than delighted to sponsor the poppy riders and wish them well in this enormous challenge. Go for it guys and girls you know you can do it!”
Martin Monks-Appleton, the joint owner of the Olive Press Bowling Club said: “We have assisted the RBL Kyrenia Branch in fundraising on numerous occasions in the past and we are proud to be the venue for the start and finish of this epic ride, the party at the end will be a blast and details will be announced shortly.”
If you wish to sponsor the riders then please email your proposed donation to: firstname.lastname@example.org