Ex-soldiers to get on their bikes for charity

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An ex-soldier from Eastbourne is one of two men set to embark on a mammoth cycle ride next May to raise money for military men suffering with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

Nick Gardyne and Nigel Reed will cover 1,620km over the course of 21 days, starting at John O’Groats and finishing at Lands End - the furthest end-to-end trip possible in the UK.

The pair are both taking on the journey for their own personal reasons but with the aim of helping many others.

Nick was born and raised in Eastbourne, attending Cavendish School before joining the army aged 16. Based in the Household Cavalry Regiment, he was deployed to Iraq once and Afghanistan twice during seven years of service.

On leaving the army, he returned to Eastbourne and volunteered at the Redoubt Fortress before moving to New Zealand on a Working Holiday Visa.

It was here, in Mount Maunganui to be precise, that he met Nigel - a fellow member of the Household Calvary and an ultrawalker who has covered over 22,000km in 22 years as part of a promise he made to his dying daughter in 1998.

Nigel, who will become a sprightly 70-year-old during the pair’s adventure, has an understanding of the effect of grief that comes from being a World War Two orphan as his father was tragically shot down over Germany.

Nick said, “I was proud to march with him on Anzac Day this year in New Zealand - two generations of Household Cavalrymen saying thank you to those who went before us and are still fighting today.

“This is an opportunity for two ex-soldiers who have had different experiences to share their stories and, in doing so, raise both awareness and funds for a group of our fellow ex-soldiers who are battling with their demons. PTSD, in my opinion, is a result of unresolved grief, for example loss of career, limbs, hope, ambition, innocence, independence and loss of colleagues. To lose any of these can dramatically change one’s life.”

The inspirational pair will cycle on behalf of two charities: Blue Apple Heroes, supporting veterans suffering from PTSD, and the Household Calvary Foundation.

For more information, visit their Facebook site (Riding4Veterans) or their website at www.ride4veterans.org.uk.