Firefighters’ Western Front charity cycle ride

From left, Neil Powell Adam Moore and Tony Cooke at the grave of Thomas Walter Pearson, born in Water Stratford in 1897. PNL-140922-112839001

From left, Neil Powell Adam Moore and Tony Cooke at the grave of Thomas Walter Pearson, born in Water Stratford in 1897. PNL-140922-112839001

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Firefighters have completed a six-day charity cycle ride along the Western Front.

Three Buckingham men were among 11 current and former members of staff from Buck Fire & Rescue Service to finish the 480-mile bike ride on Friday.

To celebrate the centenary of the start of the First World War, the cyclists followed the route of the Western Front from Switzerland through France to Belgium, stopping off to pay their respects at war graves along the way.

Buckingham crew manager Adam Moore, retired station manager Tony Cooke and Neil Powell who recently retired after 25 years’ service are pictured at the grave of Thomas Walter Pearson, born in Water Stratford in 1897.

The elder son of Walter and Frances Pearson who lived in the Old Post Office, he was a private in The Buffs (East Kent Regiment) who died on July 17, 1918 and is buried in France at Chauny Communal Cemetery British Extension at Aisne.

So far, the cyclists have raised £3,146 including Gift Aid for The Fire Fighters Charity, the Florence Nightingale Hospice Charity and the Royal British Legion in memory of two former colleagues who died in 2011.

Keith Holland and Pete Soulsby used to help organise an annual trip to the Remembrance Day parade at Ypres in Belgium. The trip, which has taken place every year since 1990, enables fire and rescue service staff to pay their respects to the tens of thousands of soldiers who lost their lives in the First World War but who have no known grave.

Many of the cyclists will be going back to Ypres in November to take part in the parade, but will be making that journey on four wheels rather than two.

The cyclists have a Facebook page called BFRS Western Front Centenary Memorial Bike Ride 2014