19th Sep, 2020

Ambassadors postpone Belgian trip

Rob George 20th May, 2020

WORCESTERSHIRE Ambassadors have postponed their 20th anniversary Gheluvelt 2 Gheluvelt cycle ride which was scheduled to take place in October until next year.

Cyclists from across the county – some of whom have a family link to the Second Worcestershire Regiment – were due to leave Gheluvelt Park in Worcester on October 27 and arrive in Belgium four days later.

The fifth day’s route would have taken in historic locations including the battlefield site and the Menin Gate. The organisation had hoped to raise £30,000 for the Royal British Legion in the county through sponsorship, events throughout the year and the sale of the specially-commissioned Gheluvelt Soldier figure and booklet.

Money raised would have been used to enhance the Gheluvelt memorial in Belgium to highlight the important role played by the Worcesters in the battle on October 31, 1914 and fund bursaries for Worcestershire school pupils to visit the First World War battlefields.

Phil Dutton, who is leading the project with fellow Ambassador Vince Hopkins in conjunction with the Mercian Regiment Museum and the Royal British Legion, said there were several reasons behind the postponement.

“Training runs and getting into shape to do the challenge is going to be increasingly difficult during the lockdown and there is also uncertainty about when we will be allowed to get together as a group,” said Mr Dutton.

“The memorial would not have been completed when we arrive as work has been postponed and, finally, we felt that asking people for funds when the full financial impact of the Coronavirus outbreak on businesses and individuals has still to be realised would be inappropriate.”

Mr Dutton said all ride fees and sponsorship money raised so far will be refunded and added this is not a cancellation, merely a postponement, as it was the Ambassadors’ intention to complete the project next year.

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