Bikers join protest ride for forces veterans
Riders form up in Lyde Green ahead of the rally in support of veterans
MOTORBIKE, scooter and moped riders from across the area formed up in Lyde Green before joining hundreds of other bikers for a protest ride through Bristol and Bath.
The ride on August 8 was organised by West of England Rolling Thunder, a group of Forces veterans and civilian supporters who are campaigning for an end to prosecutions of ex-Service personnel over incidents on active duty in Northern Ireland before the Good Friday Agreement.
The ride, with 800 participants, also helped collect hundreds of pounds for the Lee Rigby Foundation, which helps members of the Armed Forces and bereaved families, with support from the mother of the soldier who was murdered in London in 2013.
Among the organisers of the event was Andrew Davies, a veteran from Soundwell who served with the Royal Air Force Police during the 1980s.
Andy, who is now a martial arts coach, motorbike instructor and a member of the Blood Bike Emergency Services, was until recently the Royal British Legion Riders Branch.
He said: "A massive thank-you to all the local moped, scooter and motorcycle riders who turned out to join eight hundred others in a protest ride through Bristol and Bath, calling on the government to do more to help veterans and to stop the witch-hunts and prosecutions of former service personnel.
"As a veteran and one of the main organisers of the event, we were overwhelmed by public support with people keen to know what it was about and wanting to film it to post on YouTube."
Veterans are also campaigning for the government to enshrine in law the Military Covenant, which would make councils legally responsible for providing help such as housing and mental health support for veterans.
Andy said: "I am passionate about veterans affairs as I have several friends who suffer badly from PTSD as a result of their military service and am angry that successive governments have failed to enshrine the Military Covenant in Law.
"A petition has just been started to seek to get the government to do this."
The petition can be found online at petition.parliament.uk/petitions/332503.