We are delighted to share the news that our very own Rob Bowditch successfully cycled 238 miles to Sheffield ahead of the opening ceremony of the UK Invictus Trials, and in order to raise money for the Armed Forces Para-Snowsports Team (“AFPST”).
The AFPST are an independent service charity, whose aim is to support the recovery of wounded, injured, and sick military personnel and veterans. Their mission is to “foster a sense of purpose, encourage success and re-build self-confidence using the transformative power of para-snowsports. By motivating, engaging and inspiring our athletes, we can help restore their physical and mental health.”
The AFPST offer a flexible 4-year programme, teaching adaptive snowboarding, Nordic and Alpine skiing, and giving those injured service men and women a new focus and a new lease on life. Founded in 2011 to support the already existing Adaptive Skiing Team, the charity has gone from strength to strength. This charity is run entirely by volunteers, meaning that every penny raised goes to actually running the charity and to supporting those military personal and veterans who need it.
For 10 years, Leonardo UK has been a major sponsor of the charity (and the team before the charity’s inception) and staff members have taken part in different fundraising challenges every year. This year’s Ride of Steel was a 238 mile sponsored cycle, which ended at Sheffield Arena ahead of the UK Invictus Trials Opening Ceremony. The ride took place over 4 days, giving an average distance of nearly 60 miles per day – sounds comfortable!
Between all the members of staff who took part in the event – some 49 cyclists from all over the country – a whopping £46,000 was raised for the AFPST. This is ever so slightly shy of their target of £50,000 but Rob’s team fundraising page is still live and the link is featured at the end of this article. So if you fancy supporting this wonderful cause, and rewarding a thoroughly underprepared Blue Boy for completing such an impressive feat, please do take a look and donate what you can spare. The link for the AFPST website is also featured so you can read up on a wonderful charity in more detail, and check out the photos of their athletes in action.
We caught up with Rob on his return and we were delighted to find him in such good spirits (for which he credits good pants!) Rob said of the experience:
“The 220 odd mile ‘Ride of Steel’ was a big challenge, and the farthest I’ve cycled by a long way. It was tough in many ways, but something I will look back on with a smile.
However, my little cycle ride dwarfs in comparison to some of the challenges overcome by the beneficiaries of the money raised for the Armed Forces Para-Snowsports Team.
We got a chance to hear the stories of some of the athletes, people who had suffered hugely but were determined to be more than their injuries. People who had been able to reconnect and bond with their families, and rise above their circumstances, thanks to the power of sport and the benefits it provides socially, mentally and physically. Thank you for all of the donations, it really does make a difference.”
It is wonderful to hear that Rob enjoyed his experience but also that he was able learn so much from some truly inspiring people. We look forward to seeing what challenge Rob undertakes next year and wish him all the best for the upcoming rugby season!
To donate to the AFPST via Rob’s charity page, go to:
To learn more about the AFPST itself, check out: