UPDATE: THERE HAS BEEN AN ERROR WITH THE PAGE AND ALL DONATIONS HAVE BEEN REFUNDED TO THOSE THAT HAVE BEEN SUPPORTING THIS CHALLENGE. WE ARE WORKING HARD TO RECTIFY THIS ERROR AND HAVE SPOKEN WITH THE GOFUNDME! TEAM. CAN WE ASK THAT IF YOU DONATED AND RECIEVE A REFUND BACK INTO THE ACCOUNT THAT YOU PLEASE WAIT 24HRS BEFORE ATTEMPTING TO DONATE AGAIN. ALL WE CAN DO IS APOLOGISE AND WHILE ALSO THANKING YOU FOR YOUR UNDERSTANDING AND CONTINUED SUPPORT. THE OP PANTHA TEAM.
Toward the end of June, a group of veterans, and one civil servant that works with the Police, had challenged themselves to cycle from Weymouth in Dorset to Normandy in France, and then back again. They were doing this to show that having a mental health or physical injury doesn't have to limit you, and that if you have enough determination & motivation, you can achieve anything.
Due to a change in circumstances the team has now had to change it's plans and split into 2 groups. The first group will consist of one rider and the support group who will continue with the challenge of cycling to Normandy and back. The second group will consist of the other four riders who will complete the miles needed over the same period of time at various locations throughout Dorset. They will be accompanied by a fundraising and awareness team who will be on hand to talk to the public about the challenge, and collect donations on the days that the riders are out.
Along the way they will be raising funds for, and awareness of, several organisations that are close to their hearts: Headway the Brain Injury Association , The Defence Medical Welfare Services (DMWS), and The Veterans Hub Weymouth & Portland CIC .
This challenge is the brainchild of Wayne, a veteran of the Royal Navy, who specialised as an Air Engineer and ship's diver. Following a tour of Sierra Leone and Iraq, he left the Armed Forces to pursue a career working on both fixed wing and rotary aircraft. Tragically, while in Italy, he was seriously assaulted and left with a brain injury, paralysis down his right side, and a speech impediment. Despite his life being irreversibly changed in just a matter of moments, he is a confident, inspirational person who tackles life head-on, and is always wanting to challenge himself.
Charlotte is a veteran of the Royal Military Police, who served in Iraq and Germany. Since leaving the Army she has worked as a Police Officer, trained as a bereavement councillor, and is now embedded at The Veterans Hub as a welfare officer for the DMWS, supporting veterans and Police Officers going through tough times.
Andy is a former Rifleman and veteran of Afghanistan, who lives with Complex PTSD and other service related mental health injuries. He is the founder of The Veterans Hub Weymouth & Portland CIC, a project set up in Dorset by veterans for veterans. The Hub centres around a community café, that leads onto a purpose built therapeutic area comprised of a gym, gardens and allotments. Recently the team established and opened a full-time multiagency welfare office, second hand shop, and treatment room where veterans can access a variety of therapies for free.
Eyan was born with a Club Foot deformity that left him with constant chronic pain, unable to sleep, stand or move without suffering severe pain. Despite two major operations , he was unable to move the foot and gradually the bone structure grew more and more infirm leading to structural collapse. After being referred to a specialist, in 2020 Eyan got his wish to have his lower right leg amputated, enabling him to live a life that he never thought he would.
David is a x2 World Heavy Weight Masters Boxing Champion and veteran of the Cheshire Regiment who has worked in the fitness industry for over 20 years. He is now a mental health and exercise coach, something that he is incredibly passionate about, and has founded Blast Off PT Fitness & Mindset Coaching, where he coaches people on how to manage their mental health through structured exercise, healthy living, and education.
These awesome people will be supported throughout the challenge by a team of volunteers in support vehicles, and they will also be streaming their personal journeys to raise as much awareness as possible about living with mental and physical health injuries.
Watch this space over the coming weeks for updates, and pictures of the team training.
Lastly, please share and donate -a small amount goes a long way.