Brave soldier signs up for 500 mile charity cycle for Armed Forces

A COURAGEOUS Luton soldier who lost both his legs in an explosion in Afghanistan is to take part in a 500 mile charity event in aid of the Armed Forces.

Rifleman Michael Swain, 21, said: “This will be the ultimate challenge for me.

“I hope I can inspire the general public to get involved and support the Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Families Association.”

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He and top model Nell McAndrew launched SSAFA Forces Help’s Ride of Britain, the first-ever mass cycling event open to members of the public and the Armed Forces.

The charity challenge starts at Edinburgh Castle on September 21 and continues across Britain, culminating in London five days later.

Michael, of 3rd Battalion The Rifles, plans to complete the route on a hand bike which he learned to master as part of his rehabilitation at Headley Court.

He said: “I’ve been prepping for this since mid 2010 and have taken part in a number of shorter events but this will be the toughest yet.”

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Injured service personnel can participate as members of a relay team or on bicycles, hand bikes and tandems. Civilians are invited to join them but their mode of transport is restricted to bicycles.

The route covers challenging countryside, through the rugged fells of Cumbria, the Yorkshire Dales, Lincolnshire and Cambridgeshire. The finale of the gallant ride will be at London’s iconic Horseguards Parade.

teamSSAFA co-ordinator Laurena Di Bello said: “We are calling on people of all walks of life to join us for a great adventure and to help SSAFA continue to assist more than 50,000 each year.”

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>To sponsor Michael, go to