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Friends cycle from John O’Groats to Land’s End while dressed as WW2 soldiers to fundraise for charity

Best friends Jakeem Addman and Richard Brown are cycling over 1,000 miles to fundraise for Help for Heroes.
Best friends Jakeem Addman and Richard Brown are cycling over 1,000 miles to fundraise for Help for Heroes.

Two friends dressed as Second World War soldiers have taken on a mammoth cycling challenge to raise funds for veteran charity, Help for Heroes.

Despite being turned down from joining the military, Richard Brown is determined to show his strength by supporting the wounded veterans while honouring the memory of his grandfather.

Last summer, Mr Brown, from Manchester, took on the incredible challenge of swimming the length of 12 stretches of water in the Lake District.

Mr Brown said: “I always wanted to serve and I tried to join all three services but as a teenager I suffered from OCD and anorexia and despite battling to get in and going through the appeal process, I was unsuccessful.

“I decided if I couldn’t join them, I might as well do what I can to try and help them. I had been training constantly for the past 10 years in preparation for joining the military, however after my decade long appeal battle finally came to an end last year, I thought I might as well put all this effort and training into good use, and that’s where the idea for doing a challenge started.

“It was gruelling but I proved to myself what I could achieve. I thought about what my grandad, Peter Cooper, who served in the Parachute Regiment had been through in the Second World War and that put the physical and mental strength I had to find into perspective.”

Ride for heroes

This year, the 26-year-old is attempting to cycle John O’Groats to Land’s End with a twist. Joined by his best friend Jakeem Addman the pair are navigating the country while dressed as Second World War soldiers and riding replica 1940s bikes.

Richard Brown and Jakeem Addman clad in woolen Second World War uniforms. Supplied by Help for Heroes.

They will be deviating from the course to take on the National Three Peaks challenge by foot – which includes Ben Nevis.

The epic challenge will cover more than 1,000 miles over 20 days.

The pair set off from John O’Groats on Tuesday (July 27) morning and headed 88 miles down the coast to their first overnight stop at Dornoch.

On Wednesday they will cycle to Fort Augustus and then on Thursday to Fort William. They will stop there to climb Ben Nevis on Friday.

Along the route they will pass military bases and war memorials to pay their respects.

As well as Ben Nevis the duo, clad in woolen uniforms, will climb Scafell Pike in England and Snowdon in Wales, with a total ascent of 3,064m.

With a fundraising goal of £2,000, the pair have already received over £500 on their JustGiving page.

Mr Brown added: “We are hoping to push ourselves through a big challenge to try and capture that great British spirit of no matter how hard it is, have a laugh about it, have a cup of tea and crack on with a smile on your face.”

Help for Heroes

Help for Heroes supports wounded veterans, whether that is with physical of psychological wounds.

The charity helps them, and their families, to recover and get on with their lives. It has supported more than 26,500 people so far.

Just ahead of Mr Brown and Mr Addman’s epic cycle, Des Lally will also climb Ben Nevis this week.

For him it’s part of a unique challenge to climb five mountains, in five countries across three days.

The 46-year-old from Brecon in Wales is aiming to climb the highest mountains in Wales, Scotland, England, Northern Ireland and Ireland in just 72 hours.

Trevor Fudger, area fundraising manager at Help for Heroes, said: “We would like to thank Richard, Jakeem and Des for what they are doing to help veterans and their families across Scotland and the UK through their amazing challenges.”

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