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King's Lynn forces veteran to get on his bike for charity

A disabled veteran of the HM Forces will be getting on his bike for Bridge For Heroes this weekend.

Mark Howard, of Gaywood, will take to the roads on his handcycle around King’s Lynn, Littleport, Wisbech and Sutton Bridge to raise money for the charity.

Mr Howard, 49, explained: “I recently booked to do a 100-mile ride on August 22 up in Yorkshire, however lady fate stuck her nose in again and this has been cancelled due to the pandemic.

King's Lynn man Mark Howard with Karl Perryman and Steve Russell, chair of trustees, at Bridge For Heroes. (40762477)
King's Lynn man Mark Howard with Karl Perryman and Steve Russell, chair of trustees, at Bridge For Heroes. (40762477)

“So I decided to ride 100 miles on the date in question around here to raise funds for Bridge For Heroes.

“I will be doing this with Karl Perryman, who I met through the charity. It looks as though a few people will be joining us for either the whole or part of the route, including two other handcyclists.”

Former Gayton resident Mr Howard and close friend Mr Perryman, who will ride a normal bike over the 100 miles, received the Queen’s award for voluntary service earlier this year.

Mr Howard, who worked in the lifeguards, was medically discharged from the HM Forces in 1993 after damaging his left knee.

His condition has deteriorated to the extent where he suffered extensive problems with his back and shoulders and became wheelchair reliant.

He took up handcycling to help both his physical and mental well-being in 2015 and hasn’t looked back since.

“Taking up handcycling has helped me flourish and complete a number of challenges,” he admitted.

“After winning a competition, I became completely hooked.

“I’ve climbed Alpe De Huez and completed the Isle of Man an TT circuit five times.

“Last year, I was completing a 50-mile sportive every week in the summer all over the country and ended up doing 14 of them.

“It has been difficult not being able to participate in events, but it has been easier going out on the road and training as there hasn’t been the traffic on the roads.

“Although there will be no medals at the end we will have satisfaction of doing it and hopefully raising a few quid for this great charity, which has been busier than normal since covid hit us.

“We obviously can’t go out and do a bucket collection due to the situation, so anything we can raise will be an added bonus.”

Anyone who would like to support Mr Howard – a keen fan of King’s Lynn Town Football Club – in his fundraising exploits can do so by visiting: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/mark-howard33fbclid=IwAR2g6qBgumMvvYlsw4ZuOvlnZECYw_UBMX8aTndycxG3nRjII4V-1HTIpfs

Bridge for Heroes, which has its headquarters in Lynn’s South Clough Lane, was established in 2010 to help provide mental health and wellbeing support for the HM Armed Forces Community, veterans and their families.

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