BIKERS have donated more than £7,000 to military charities after a fundraising event in South Tyneside.
The Armed Forces Day event was staged in Bents Park, South Shields, in June, by the Badlanders Motorcycle Club, supported by South Tyneside Council.
Many members of the Hell’s Angels and the North East Coalition of Motorcycle Clubs are forces veterans and passionate about helping our troops.
The day started with hundreds of bikers meeting at the Hell’s Angels clubhouse in Murton Street, Sunderland, ready to ride to South Shields.
They were accompanied into the park by a pipe band, and a service, led by the Reverend Paul Kennedy, and a two-minute silence were held.
The entertainment continued with live bands throughout the day, a rock choir and an exhibition of motorbikes, classic cars and scooters, as well as various stalls.
The Mayor and Mayoress of South Tyneside, Coun Ernest Gibson and Patricia Ridley, were in attendance, along with two South Tyneside mothers of soldiers killed in Iraq.
Pat Long, of Hebburn, lost son Paul, 24, in June 2003 – one of six Redcaps killed by a mob at a police station in al Majar al-Kabir. Their killers are yet to be caught.
Elsie Manning, of South Shields, lost her daughter, Staff Sergeant Sharron Elliott, in a bomb blast on the Shatt al-Arab waterway, on Remembrance Sunday 2006.
Jan Tyson, of the Badlanders, said: “Despite the interruption of heavy downpours, the day was well attended by both the motorcycle community and the general public.
“We would like to thank everyone who attended the event for showing their support.
“This is the fifth year the event has taken place, and plans for year six are already under way.”
Two cheques have now been handed over, one for £5,046 to Support Our Soldiers and the other, for £2,000, to Help for Heroes, which is to be used at the Phoenix House Recovery Centre at Catterick Garrison in North Yorkshire.