Epic motorcycle ride round the coast of Britain by four former servicemen from Felixstowe

Pictured at the launch of the coastal ride round Britain to raise funds for the "Once, We Were Soldi

Pictured at the launch of the coastal ride round Britain to raise funds for the "Once, We Were Soldiers" charity are, left to right, Ian Bignell, Bruce Read, Rob Bullock and Chris Straugheir. - Credit: Archant

Four former serviceman are planning an epic 4,000-plus mile motorcycle ride round the coast of Britain in a bid to raise money for a charity which is close to their hearts.

The route which is gong to be taken by the bikers on the "Once, We Were Soldiers" ride round the coa

The route which is gong to be taken by the bikers on the "Once, We Were Soldiers" ride round the coast of Britain. - Credit: Archant

Their “Once, We Were Soldiers” marathon is due to set off from Felixstowe on June 11 with 15 days ahead of them averaging 300 miles a day, eight hours a day and sleeping rough on their journey.

And the four avid bikers met up on Sunday at the town’s war memorial to launch their campaign.

Chris Straugheir, Rob Bullock, Ian Bignall and Bruce Reid, who all live in the town, plan to head northwards at the start of their journey towards Lowestoft, then onto Cromer with their first stop being in Yorkshire where they hope to meet up with members of the local Harley Davidson group.

Then it’s on towards Scotland and John O’Groats before they head back south through Cumbria and Wales then onto Lands End and across the south coast and back to Felixstowe.

The route which is gong to be taken by the bikers on the "Once, We Were Soldiers" ride round the coa

The route which is gong to be taken by the bikers on the "Once, We Were Soldiers" ride round the coast of Britain. - Credit: Archant


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The idea for the ride came from 43-year-old Chris, who runs Magnums Tattoo Studio, in Platters Road, following a conversation with his friend Rob, 54, a self employed builder.

The idea gathered momentum and Bruce, 54, a dock worker, and Ian, 60, a retired BT worker, decided to link up with them.

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All four between them served with the RAF at Honington, the Royal Artillery, the Grenadier Guards and the Royal Hussars and were keen to support the “Once, We Were Soldiers” charity which is based in Leicestershire and supports ex-forces personnel who are homeless and those who find it difficult to adjust to civilian life.

They have organised a raffle to help boost their fundraising with prizes being organised with the draw being made at the Pier the day before they set off and they are being supported on the ride with a back up team of Barry Straugheir and Derek Stringer who are following them in a van with food/water supplies and tools for the bikes.

Chris, a father of seven, who served in the Army from 1990 to 1997 mainly in Germany specialising in explosives and weaponry, said they were hoping the ride would result in £5,000 being raised and they have set up a Just Giving page at https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/chris-straugheir and which already has over £500 in donations.

He said: “People have been donated already and we hope to make collections on our journey round the coast.”

Rob served 10 years in the Grenadier Guards with several tours included in the line of duty in Northern Ireland and the first Gulf War. He also carried out expeditions in the South American Jungle, Borneo, Kalamatan, Sabah, Sarawak and was a jungle warfare instructor. He served in the Recce Platoon and Close Observation Platoon and when he left the forces set up his own building company.

Bruce served in the RAF reserves for three years and was a civilian working in the United Nations Peace Keeping Missions for 21 years in the Congo, Haiti, Western Sahara and Iraq until 2014.

And Ian served six years in the Royal Artillery then BT for 36 years.

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