Monday, October 12, 2009

Ride To The Wall 2009

The Ride To The Wall is an annual ride out to the National Memorial Arboretum near Lichfield. The joint aims of the day are, firstly, to remember those who have died in service since WW2 and, secondly, to raise money for the Arboretum. The inaugural event last year raised over £10,000 and was deemed a huge success, as indeed it was. Obviously the organizers had hoped for a bigger do this year but even so I would imagine that they were both elated and amazed to have over 5,000 bikes turn up and to raise over £43,000!

From the Garden Of England: Wind, Fire and an electrically controlled Meerkat.

Ned and The Boss discover that even with Harley Davidson SatNav it helps to know where you are trying to go.

Bikers from all over the country - and a fair number from abroad - congregated at the Drayton Manor theme park and make the 12 mile journey to the memorial as a processional ride out. The level of organization that this sort of thing requires really shouldn't be underestimated, and it is to the very considerable credit of the organizers, marshalls and the police (who had given their time free for the occasion) that the whole thing went off without a hitch - mind you, the sheer numbers involved meant that the departure from Drayton Manor was somewhat delayed.

Meeting up at Drayton Manor.

Drayton Manor: the view from my parking spot.

The Arboretum itself is an amazing place and I'd recommend anyone who has a chance to go there to take it. I don't think there was anybody there on Saturday who wasn't moved by the place, let alone the event. The short service was poignant and to the point and if there were any dry eyes left after it they didn't make it past the Spitfire fly past.

Gathering for the service.


All in all it was a wonderful, respectful day. The act of the ride itself and the support from everyone along the way - waving flags and cheering - prove once again that yes, we *will* remember them.

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