Lands End to John O’Groats - Biking for the NFRSA


I’m lucky enough to be the chair of a wonderful charity called The National Foundation for Retired Service Animals.

In a fit of enthusiasm (some describe it as insanity), I’ll be riding my e-bike from Lands End to John O’Groats in aid of The NFRSA in September 2023.

Along the route, I’ll be joined by our Patron, The Duchess of York, the ambassadors of the NFRSA, including Ben Miller, David Gower, Tom Gaymor, Jackie Llewelyn-Bowen, and many more - as well as officers and staff from the police, fire & rescue, border force and prison services.

I’ll be stopping off at various points on this 1,022 mile journey to visit dog and mounted sections from the services the charity supports to meet and thank officers and handlers, as well as highlight the vital role these amazing animals play in our communities.

The trip will cover the entire west side of the country travelling from the tip of Cornwall to the furthest northern point of the UK mainland and it will take 3 weeks.

I’m so excited to be taking on this extraordinary challenge, and I’m particularly looking forward to meeting as many of you wonderful supporters of the NFRSA as I can along the way.


The National Foundation for Retired Service Animals is a UK registered charity (1200949) that supports the owners of retired dogs and horses from the police, fire & rescue, prison, National Crime Agency, and border force, by helping them with veterinary and medical needs as they enter their twilight years.

When a service animal comes to the end of its career, all their financial support also comes to an end. This includes food, bedding, kennelling, even training equipment, and of course all their medical needs.

Due to their age (usually around 8 or 9 for dogs, and anything from 20 years & older for horses), insurance is simply unavailable, and even if it is, the premiums are largely unattainable.

Especially in the case of service dogs, the handlers have spent many years with them at their sides, protecting each other through thick and thin, facing the sorts of situations you and I would run away from - so the thought of giving them up is heartbreaking, but due to the financial challenges of meeting the inevitable vets bills, this does sometime happen and animals have to be re-homed.

I personally cannot even imagine what it must be like to have to give up your partner, one with whom you have spent more time with than perhaps your family, because of the fear of having to face vets bills - I think it’s just too much to ask.

So, The NFRSA helps alleviate this problem by supporting the owners and families of retired service animals and helping to meet the financial needs to cover vet and medical bills.

I had the dream of starting this charity 7 years ago, when I had the honour of being the High Sheriff of Gloucestershire, and it was during this year I discovered that retired animals do not receive a pension - so I vowed to do something about it.

Launched in May 2022, the NFRSA is privileged to support the five services and in the case of police dogs, provide cover for the counties that do not have a local retired police dog fund.

There is an ever-growing need for our help and by completing this epic challenge, and as the NFRSA’s founder, we hope to not only raise funds to continue the vital help the charity gives - but also to highlight the work these amazing animals do on a daily basis to keep us, the public, safe.

We are a nation of animals lovers and it is the passionate belief of all of us at the NFRSA that we are there for these extraordinary dogs and horses in their twilight years - just as they have been there for us all during their long careers.

We are all volunteers, there are no paid staff or contractors and so every penny donated for this bike ride will go right to where it needs to be, with the animals themselves.

Please help us to ‘Protect our Protectors’ in their retirement.

Each and every donation will help, so thank you in advance for your contribution to this cause that means so much to us all.

It’s going to be a huge personal challenge for me, and one that will definitely be taking me out of my comfort zone at the tender age of 58! But I’ll do anything for our brave service animals in their retirement and I very much hope you will all join me, whether in person, or in spirit, along the way.

Thank you for your kindness and generosity.

You can find out more about the NFRSA by visiting the website

Or you can watch the introductory film on YouTube here

You can also follow us on Social Media:

Twitter: @the_nfrsa
Facebook: The National Foundation for Retired Service Animals- The NFRSA
Instagram: @nfrsa_official
LinkedIn: The National Foundation for Retired Service Animals

Thank you again for your fantastic support!



  • Anonymous
    • £100 
    • 2 mos
  • Flavia Stampa Gruss
    • £50 
    • 2 mos
  • Anne Targett
    • £10 
    • 3 mos
  • Stuart Mellody
    • £155 
    • 4 mos
  • Treasurer S&DMCC
    • £100 
    • 4 mos


Countess Bathurst
The National Foundation for Retired Service Animals
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