Thousands of bikers have roared off on a ‘Ride of Respect’ to show appreciation of soldiers’ sacrifice in Afghanistan.
Some 10,000 set off in waves of 500 from Hullavington airfield in Wiltshire to ride through the town of Wootton Bassett – the scene of many homecomings for service personnel killed in the conflict.
Donations have been paid to the charity Afghan Heroes by bikers who took part in the event. The charity was set up in September 2009 to provide support for those directly involved in the conflict.
Last year when the event was held for the first time 16,000 bikers took part with pillion riders taking the total to 23,000 and £110,000 was raised.
This year the ride has been deliberately kept smaller with 10,000 bikers and 3,000 on pillion but with other rides also taking place elsewhere in the country it is hoped to raise £130,000.
Laurence Phillips a spokesman for the charity said: “This has been organised by the biking fraternity from across the UK and it is their way of expressing their gratitude to the soldiers who have given the ultimate and also to the town.
“Wootton Bassett shows a spontaneous reaction when the people hear another soldier is coming through, they come out of the shops and line the streets and the bikers want to recognise that,” he added.