afsc RIDE TO THE WALL
2nd October 2010
       
   
       
       
       
       
    We ARE 2.06 IN  
 
       
       

Al Chester mentioned this event some time back and to be honest I think it had passed under the Scootering radar? Letís face it we are no strangers to mass ride outs and we all have our fair share of charity events that are very much carved in stone on the scootering calendar throughout the year but this one was going to be a little different because it was predominately a motorcycle event and the destination was The Armed Forces Memorial.

The Armed Forces Memorial is the first national memorial dedicated to the men and women of the United Kingdom Armed Forces (Regular and Reserve) killed on duty or as a result of terrorist action since the Second World War.
I hope I donít stray into the weeds here because remembrance is a very personal thing and most of us have our own way of respecting our friends and colleges who have fallen and there arenít many who haven't felt a loss and remember in their own way. Most serving and ex-servicemen of our age group seem to have very private and sensitive ways of remembrance.
 

     
     
     
   
     
     

When ten of us made the decision to go we didnít really know quite what to expect, this was remember a biker ride out but we learned that the Friday night had camping and some form of entertainment at Drayton Manor right smack bang on the form up point ready for the Saturday ride so camping was booked and we counted down the weeks and days for the event.
The North West and North East
AFSC Riders planned to meet up at the AFSC Thrash Breakfast location in Buxton so on Friday 1st October 2010 Bones and I rode through torrential rain to meet up with Dangerous Dave, Dave Hall and Joey for a lunch time RV prior to riding the remaining 50 miles to Drayton Manor.

The weather was touching on biblical with every type of rain possible thrown at us but this effort pales into insignificance when we remember the sacrifice our fallen comrades had made so we all rode through the foulest of weathers without any major problems what so ever.
 

     
     
     
     
 

Arriving at Drayton Manor we bumped into Stuart Hamilton who was a solo rider and Uggy and Jeanette, Al Chester arrived at dark Oíclock wetter than a wet thing. The facilities where spot on, and I mean spot on! Not once did the water in the shower block turn cold and the hair dryers were welcomed and used to dry out gloves and boots.
Surrounded by bikers all with the same purpose as us gave to the normal collective "Esprit de corps" and I can see long term friendships with the bikers being forged as this superb and very special event evolves.

The marquee put up for us for entertainment was a bit of a strange affair, well strange for us as we are used to a dance floor and ďOurĒ music, the DJ gave out a mixed bag that was kind of like wedding music, it was ok but only ok if you know what I mean?
The beer was cans and ₤2.50 per can! Not too impressed so we all did the Tescoís run and stocked up on wife beater. There were burgers and the usual fare but these where a lot more expensive than we were used to. The entertainment was a little one dimensional and the bikers didnít really seam to party? We decided to go and explore looking for something a little less tame and we headed towards the Drayton Manor function rooms.
 

     
       
 

There is a public bar and two small function rooms, the smaller one we mistook for the public bar and we were asked to leave before getting a drink, getting into the pub part for last orders was tops as we all got dry and warm with a few cold ones down our necks.

We left at closing time and congregated just outside the main function suite where a farmerís black tie evening was in full swing, it looked like a very posh officerís mess do with loads of totty and champagne swillers. Al Chester and I decided to crash the party and attempt to get a drink where we were headed off at the bar by the wife of the farmers club organiser, instead of throwing us out she asked how many of us where there and then proceeded to buy us all a drink and invite us all in! I estimated that the round came to ₤50 and her husband paid it without batting an eye! Thatís money!
As the evening/morning wore on I watched with delight as Dave Hall was dragged onto the dance floor to dance to a Frank Sinatra track, the scooterist bedecked in AFSC Back Patch dancing amongst the black ties and evening dresses will be embedded in my memory forever! Top drills Dave!

We staggered back to our tents at 0330hrs and the bikers where all tucked up in bed so we all got our big fat ex-military heads down.
Saturday morning was heralded in by the sound of hundreds of Harley Davisonís arriving, they are a certainly as loud as Vespa 50ís without an exhaust but the quantity of them nearly made the ground shake. Alan Hatcher, Daz, Philippa  and Martin Robson arrived and there where 15,000 bikes estimated with about 25 scooters.
 

     
       
 

The great thing about getting there on Friday is that you are given VIP status and head the ride out! The marshalling was tip top, Dave Hall remarked that it was the best organised ride out he had ever seen and we trickled out of Drayton Manor to start the 17 mile journey running to the wall.

The locals lined the street and waved flags and gave the thumbs up but it was on the bridges where we saw the flags and people who had travelled out to watch us Ride To The Wall and it was difficult to ride with tears in your eyes and a lump in your throat.
We arrived bursting with pride at The Armed Forces Memorial and where swallowed up in the moment.

I will not even begin to attempt to write up our visit because I truly believe that this would be impossible as there where shared moments and moments of individual remembrance all done in the most special place.

I did notice that this wasnít a somber or cold experiences often found in churches, this was a setting that gave hope as well as respect. It was amazing to see people in groups one minute than in pairs and individual as they remembered in thier own way those who have fallen.
 

After the service we had a coffee together and met Craig Blitz of The HMFSC/Minority SC then rode back towards Drayton Manor to look for scoff and a wet. Joey dropped on a 50% off Indian so we snuggled into their having the first of many cold frothy ones of the evening.

The entertainment back at Drayton Manor was courtesy of a heavy metal band who had given their services for free and we stayed as long as we could but chose to head back to the pub where we drank ourselves to tiredness and hit the tents quite early in anticipation for the ďswimĒ back home and yes we were all greeted to a deluge on Sunday morning.


Everyone got back safe and sound knowing that we had all been part of something very special indeed and I hope that this event will grow legs and see more and more scooterists riding to the Wall.

 

       
       
       
   
       
       
       
     
     
   

 

RIDE TO THE WALL

RTTW is a unique motorcycling event which gives motorcyclists an opportunity to gather together at a place of remembrance, to pay their respects to our serving and fallen service men and women and in doing so, raise funds solely for the purpose of perpetuating their memory and recognising the sacrifice made.

RTTW Mission Statement:
That bikers may gather together and ride as a group to a place of remembrance to pay their respects to our serving and fallen servicemen and women and in doing so raise funds solely for the purpose of perpetuating their memory.

RTTW Core Values
* To remember those that can no longer ride by our side
* To give all bikers an opportunity to pay their respects to the memory of the fallen and express our gratitude for their sacrifice.
* To show support for the Armed Forces currently serving both at home and abroad.
* To raise money for the upkeep of the venue that serves to perpetuate the memory of those who have made the ultimate sacrifice.

It must be noted that RTTW is not a marketing opportunity for third parties nor is it an event that should be perceived by third parties as a platform to increase membership, promote products or themselves. The event does not support, condone or encourage armed conflict of any kind.

Getting to The Arboretum by Scoot is very easy.  following the road round to the Arboretum entrance.

For sat nav, AA Route Finder or RAC Route Finder users the post code is DE13 7AR.

Or find us on Streetmap.

 

 

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