A GROUP of soldiers set out from Redditch Town Hall this morning (Tuesday, July 19) to cycle a journey of almost 400 miles to visit each Army Reserve Centre of their regiment.
The group of off-duty soldiers from the 37th Signal Regiment in Redditch were waved off from the Town Hall on the first leg of their 388 mile journey by Mayor of Redditch, Councillor Joe Baker (Lab, Arrow Valley East) who said: “I am proud to support their efforts here today – although it’s a very big undertaking and I’d rather them than me.
“It is important to support our local army reservists because not only do our own armed forces protect our national interests and keep us safe but they also form part of a wider community. They have been working hard alongside our local charity Night Stop, and we should support them whenever we can.”
37th Signal Regiment is a regional Army Reserve Regiment with Squadrons across the UK and Expedition ‘Winged Lion’ is a cycling tour of all their Army Reserve Centres (ARC).
The tour starting in Redditch before going on to Coventry, then Birmingham, Liverpool, Manchester, Leeds and Sheffield before finishing in Nottingham.
At each checkpoint there will be a civic reception as well as a fund-raising event by each Squadron to support a local charity.
The team in Redditch chose to support Redditch Night Stop in their recent ‘sleep out’ to raise awareness of 16-25 year olds in Redditch who are at risk of or suffering from homelessness.
The eight day cycling challenge also aims to raise money for the Royal Signals Benevolent Fund as well as act as a fitness and stamina exercise for the group of soldiers and reserves.
W1 RSM Morrison said: “We have been planning this since August last year to be a multifaceted exercise, combining civic responsibility and improving everyone’s levels of fitness.
“It’s going to be tough – especially if the hot weather keeps up.
“We anticipate the route round the Yorkshire Dales to be the most challenging, but we’ve been building up stamina in our training and we’re happy to take on the task.”
The team, led by the Commanding Officer and the Regimental Sergeant Major, will be picking up other reservists at each checkpoint along the way as well as spreading the word about army reservists and army careers.
“We want to encourage people to think about their fitness and how they exercise. Running is very high impact and is not good for your body in the long term, whereas cycling is low level impact and can keep you just as fit.
“We need our soldiers to be in the best possible physical shape, so we’re encouraging cycling as a way to build and maintain fitness and stamina.”
The cycling soldiers will finish at the National Memorial Arboretum in Nottingham next week (July 26) where they will be joined by the families of some of the soldiers who fell in Afghanistan for a short military service.
Visit www.justgiving.com/fundraising/37th-Signal-Regiment-Army-Reserve to donate
Go to www.army.mod.uk/reservist/ for more information.