Stoke & Staffordshire

Thousands of bikers ride to armed forces memorial

Bikers at the event
Image caption The event raised almost £30,000 last year

Thousands of bikers from across the UK have been at the National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire to show their support for the armed forces.

The annual Ride to the Wall (RTTW) event raised money for the arboretum and the Royal British Legion.

Last year's event at the permanent site of remembrance, near Lichfield, raised almost £30,000, organisers said.

The parents of Cpl Steven Boote, from Merseyside, who died in Afghanistan in 2009, rode his customised bike.

He was one of five soldiers to die when an Afghan policeman being trained by UK forces opened fire in the Nad Ali district.

Margaret and Tony Boote, from Birkenhead, have carried out their son's plans to customise his BMW motorcycle into a trike and rode it to honour his memory.

A team of uniformed Royal Military Police outriders accompanied them, event organisers said.

Other riders took part either as individuals or in groups and biking chapters.

They left Drayton Manor Park near Tamworth at about 1100 BST for the ride to the arboretum.

Later there was a fly-past and motorcyclists gathered for a service of remembrance at the memorial walls, which display the names of about 16,000 servicemen and women killed on duty or by terrorist action since the end of World War II.

After the Last Post, a wreath was laid by Maj Gen Lamont Kirkland, Commander 4th Division, who is taking part in the event for the second time.

He said: "Bikers everywhere have shown something of their own passion by joining together and giving their support to raising the profile of this event.

"I am very moved to be a part of this group."

Last year, about 7,500 motorcyclists took part compared to an estimated 2,500 in 2008.

The national Armed Forces Memorial officially opened to the public at the Alrewas site in 2007.

More on this story

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites