Crimplesham man gearing up for Big Battlefield ride

Chris Rolfe from Crimplesham is undertaking a 350 mile bike ride to raise money for Help for Heroes. ANL-160321-074108009
Chris Rolfe from Crimplesham is undertaking a 350 mile bike ride to raise money for Help for Heroes. ANL-160321-074108009

A Crimplesham man will be getting on his bike to raise money for charity while visiting First World War battle sites in the summer.

Chris Rolfe will be pedalling 350 miles over five days in the Help for Heroes Big Battlefield Ride.

Mr Rolfe, 22, is no stranger to fundraising for the charity but was drawn to the challenge after taking up cycling a few years ago.

He said: “It seemed quite a good challenge.

“I have had an interest in the First World War since I went to Northern France on a school trip.

“I have always wanted to go back and look.”

The ride aims to tell the story of the Western Front and Mr Rolfe will be arriving at Ypres on June 5.

A total of 325,000 British soldiers were killed within the three battles in Western Flanders, which took place in 1914, 1915 and 1917.

The ride will kick off on June 6, Mr Rolfe and the other team members will be travelling from Ypres to Arras, where British and Commonwealth troops attacked German trenches between April 9 and May 16, 1915.

On June 7, the ride will be leaving Arras to head for Amiens.

The Battle of Amiens, which started on August 8, 1918, was the first co-ordinated attack using artillery, tanks, infantry and aircraft.

From Amiens Mr Rolfe will be riding to St Quentin on Wednesday, June 8.

St Quentin was one of the Battles of the Somme 1918 and took place between March 21 and 23.

The team will then be riding onto Reims, which became part of the German trench system.

On June 10, Mr Rolfe will be arriving in Verdun, which was the single longest battle of the First World War.

Mr Rolfe will be riding 70 miles each day.

He said: “This will be the first real challenge I have done on a bike.

“I haven’t done a 70 mile ride yet but will be building up to it.”

Help for Heroes is hoping to raise more than £700,000 on this year’s Big Battlefield Ride.

If you would like to support Mr Rolfe in this gruelling challenge go to his online fundraising page: www.justgiving.com/Chris-Rolfe16