A TEAM of cyclists, including serving and ex-Service personnel, made a triumphant finish in London as they completed their Ride of Britain fundraising challenge.

The event began at Holyrood Palace and finished at the Tower of London five days later, a route inspired by the British leg of the Tour de France.

An epic undertaking

Welcomed by a cheering crowd of family and friends at the Tower, the team had cycled more than 500 miles to raise money for SSAFA, the national military charity that provides lifelong support for serving soldiers, veterans and their families.

Now in its fourth year, each team member pledged to raise in excess of £1,300, with all money raised helping the charity to continue its vital work.

One of the participants was Army soldier Martyn Sloan, 33, who is currently serving in Yorkshire with the Royal Corps of Signals but originally from Newcastle. He said: “The most memorable part of the ride for me was leaving Newcastle on Thursday morning and crossing the Millennium Bridge. There was fog all along the Tyne and I thought it was pretty iconic and more than just a coincidence.”

TOURBRITAIN2The importance of charity

Doing it for the ladies was Army Reservist Susanne Slade, 24, from Wiltshire.

Taking part in the ride was an emotional connection for her. She said: “Last year, nine members of my squadron deployed to Afghanistan. This was obviously a tense time for the whole squadron, but even more so for their families.

“It’s at times like these that you realise how important charities like SSAFA are, not only to support our Service personnel but also to support their families.

“It was an amazing feeling crossing that finishing line and having everyone there to cheer me in.”

Laura Duncan, Events Officer for SSAFA, said: “The five days were incredibly tough and have pushed the participants to the limits of physical endurance.

“The team members have all worked really hard and remained strong in spirit throughout, knowing that their fundraising efforts will ensure SSAFA can carry on supporting our Forces and their families.”

To find out more about SSAFA and how you can get involved in the 2015 Ride of Britain, visit www.ssafa.org.uk/ride-of-britain.

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