More than 50 bikers from the northeast turned out to send off the Thankful Village Bikers at a short blessing ceremony at the Angel of the North on Saturday ...
The blessing which was given by the Rev Canon David Glover, Rector of Holy Trinity Church Washington and Chaplain to the Royal British Legion Washington branch, was to celebrate the extraordinary fundraising endeavours of two bikers from the Triumph Motorcycle club.
Medwyn Parry and Dougie Bancroft visited the Angel of The North as part of their quest to visit every single one of the 51 "Thankful Villages" in the United Kingdom. These are villages with no traditional war memorial because all who left to fight in the Great War were lucky enough to return home. Many had been scarred physically and/or mentally by their horrific ordeal. Amazingly, 14 of the villages are "Double Thankful", where everybody who left also returned from the Second World War.
Riding Triumph Trophy motorbikes, Medwyn and Dougie, supported by an army of bikers and other supporters were on route on their penultimate day of their challenge which started at Llanfihangel y Creuddyn, near Aberystwyth, at 8:00am on Saturday 27 July, and some 2,500 miles and 9 days later finish at the very same village, at about 7pm on Sunday 4 August.
The ride is to raise funds for the Royal British Legion, with a target figure is £51,000. Anything above that will be divided between the Royal British Legion, the Fire Fighters Charity, and the Aberystwyth & District MAG.
Dougie Bancroft said:”This has been an amazing and very special week, the people we have met and the stories that we have shared has been truly awe inspiring. Along the way we have been met by other bikers and members of the general public all keen to support us and to donate to the charities, we have really enjoyed it and it means a lot for the villages that we have visited.
“Assembling here this morning and having a short blessing service underneath this icon Angel of The North was very moving, ‘very emotional’ indeed.”
Rev Canon David Glover said: ”I had never heard of the Thankful Villages before being asked to do this – but it is fantastic that we are able to celebrate the 51 villages that don’t have a physical war memorial in this way.
“As we approach the 100-year celebrations of the start of the First World War next year, it's fantastic that churches can open themselves up to the wider community, to show the memorials and commemorations to those that fought in that War and others since.”
Get more inspiring reading
You can order our printed INSPIRE magazine in bundles of 10 for your church. Get encouraged by stories of God at work in the UK and around the world – and it's great for giving away to those on the edge of church, too! Order FREE* for your church (*we welcome an annual donation towards our costs).