FIVE years ago an ex-serviceman called Martin had a dream of bikers from around the United Kingdom riding to “the Wall”.
The Ride to the Wall (RTTW) sees bikes, trikes, quads and scooters coming together to pay their respects to the 16,000 fallen servicemen and women who have died in the line of duty since the Second World War.
The Wall is situated within the National Arboretum in Alrewas, Staffordshire, where trees, plaques, monuments and memorials are situated at dedicated points. They are a reminder to us all of the sacrifice paid by our fallen service personnel and those emergency service workers who have died in the line of duty.
As an ex-serviceman and ex-emergency service worker (mountain rescue), I was proud to be among the Riders Branch, Royal British Legion Scotland, members who made the trip this year.
In my case it was part of a 5000km quad bike ride around the UK coast in support of three charities: Voices for Veterans, the Denbury Boys Memorial Fund and a Dementia Alliance.
Earlier this year Stranraer branch members, along with other Royal British Legion Scotland members, journeyed to the National Memorial Arboretum (NMA). Hopefully, this will become an annual event. Stranraer branch of the RBLS will have a dedicated garden of remembrance in the town this year. It is also possible that soon there will be a national dedicated place (hopefully away from the main cities) in Scotland where those who wish to pay their respects may do so.
As we approach Remembrance Sunday, we are reminded of the sacrifice paid by many. By purchasing poppies, we have the opportunity to support the Royal British Legion Scotland and the Royal British Legion (which now manages and finances the RMA).
It was an honour this year to have the opportunity to lay poppies by the names of those servicemen I once called friends; I was also honoured to be part of the Riders Branch paying respects to all of our fallen.
The Riders Branch raises money throughout the year at various events around the country. This money is usually donated to smaller, less well known military charities in Scotland and can be contacted via RBLS HQ.