Charity, Culture, Sponsorship

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Bikesure stepped in to save the day when a charity motorcycle rally to the famous Stalag Luft III prisoner of war camp needed a Great Escape of its own.

The team of riders making a pilgrimage to the camp made famous in the film starring Steve McQueen were left high and dry when their insurer pulled out with just one week before their departure date.

But Bikesure agreed to provide cover free of charge for the seven Triumph Bonneville bikes, which set off from the former RAF Biggin Hill airport on Saturday, June 4.

The rally, which aims to raise more than £10,000 for Help for Heroes and the Royal British Legion, was organised by serving Metropolitan Police officer Peter Spowage, who admitted to bursting into tears when underwriter Robert Balls agreed, in a telephone call,  to cover the bikes.

Great Escape riders make their way through a poppy field

“I hardly slept a wink over the bank holiday weekend,” said Peter. “I’d put the past two years of my life into this project and now it was in real danger of not going ahead.

“Then I took that wonderful call from Rob, and it was just unbelievable – I’m 54 years of age but I’ve no problem saying that I burst into tears. Bikesure literally saved the day.”

Mr Balls said the broker was delighted to help out, adding: “Our friends at insurers Groupama gave us a very competitive rate and we’re happy to cover the cost to help ensure that as much of the funds raised as possible goes to Help for Heroes and the Royal.”

The riders pose at the home of the Desert Rats

But, as Peter said, the journey is about much more than seven bikers on a jaunt across Europe. In February this year Private Conrad Lewis, the son of one of the team’s sponsors, was killed in action in Afghanistan.

“This is not about me or about the guys riding the bikes, this is about remembering those officers who were killed in the escape, and about Conrad and all the other young men and women who are killed or injured in the current wars,” he added.

The journey will be especially poignant for Colin Kirby-Green, whose father was shot after successfully breaking out of the camp in March 1944. Mr Kirby-Green has never visited his father’s grave, and will also visit the town of Hrabuvka in the Czech Republic where his father and fellow escapee, Canadian airman Gordon Kidder, were recaptured and executed.

For more information about the Great Escape 2 visit www.greatescape2.net, and to donate visit www.greatescape2.net/donate.html

And finally, this takes me back to watching this great film as a child:

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