One Thousand mile pedal power charity challenge in aid of cadet bursary fund

21 May 2018

Two intrepid cyclists and staff members at the Army Cadet Force Association have cycled 1,000 miles in a bid to raise much needed funds for underprivileged young cadets.

Maj Richard Walton, the Director of Finance at the ACFA and CFAV and Lt Col Terry Hayter, the ACFA’s National Sports Delivery Officer and CFAV travelled to Scotland before embarking upon ten days in the saddle from May 7 – 17. They travelled across the rest of the UK, with a number of Army Cadet units joining them on their epic journey.

There are 39,000 Army cadets across the country, and the aim of the bike challenge is to raise funds that will allow even more of them to benefit from access to adventurous training experiences that they otherwise would not be able to take part in, without the support of their cadet unit.

"This Bursary is so important. It reaches out to those cadets who struggle to make the most of the cadet experience and gives them the opportunity to develop themselves in a unique environment,” said Maj Walton. “One of my own cadets was lucky enough to benefit this year and I want to make sure that Matthew’s legacy continues to touch the lives of cadets for many years to come.”

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Money raised will go into the Matthew Bacon Bursary Fund which enables cadets to take part in The Outward Bound Trust’s 19 day Skills for Life Award, where they’ll build their confidence by taking part in a wide range of adventurous and challenging outdoor pursuits. The courses give those who lack self-belief the opportunity to make a significant change to their lives and ultimately to their futures as they move into adulthood.

Oliver Blomfield, Head of Summer Adventures at The Outward Bound Trust was proud to join Richard and Terry for a short stint on day four of their ride as they journeyed from Carlisle to Catterick. “Congratulations to Richard and Terry on completing their amazing cycle challenge,” said Oliver. “Their achievement will allow both of our organisations to work with even more young cadets, enabling them to make the most of every opportunity available to them. Together we are honoured to continue Matthew’s legacy, developing skills through Outward Bound programmes that will help young cadets to meet the challenges of life with enthusiasm and confidence.”

The fund was set up in 2007 in the memory of a Surrey ACF cadet, Major Matthew Bacon. He went on to join the British Army after leaving the cadets, serving with the Intelligence Corps, but was sadly killed in a roadside bomb in Iraq in 2005.

In his honour Matthew’s father, Roger Bacon, wanted to support cadets who show the same willingness to do anything challenging, just like his son. It was also his wish to help those take part in activities that would otherwise be beyond their means, by partly funding the opportunities for them.

"Completing this 10 day 1,000 mile cycling challenge was no mean achievement by Richard and Terry and they deserve to be cheered to the roof for what they have done," said Roger. "A cycling challenge seemed to my wife Maureen and I to be wholly appropriate, as our boy Matthew was a keen cyclist himself and used take part in army triathlon competitions. We know that he would have thoroughly approved of the enterprise. Matthew’s Bursary Fund has been running for 12 years now and we have seen the benefit to those cadets who have gone on the Outward Bound courses. We hope that the Bursary will continue into the distant future but to do so it relies on good people helping it along by making a donation. The Army Cadet Force is a wonderful organisation and we are proud to be associated with it."

To donate, follow this link: https://mydonate.bt.com/teams/acf-bike-challenge

More about the Matthew Bacon Bursary Fund is available here: https://armycadets.com/about-us/acf-structure/the-acfa/grants-for-cfavs-and-cadets/mbb/