Two close friends of Paul Burns, who died in June, took on a 77-mile route from Banbury to Aldershot Military Cemetery, raising money for three charities
Thousands of pounds have been raised in memory of a double amputee from Farnborough who died after being injured during a charity cycling event .
Army veteran Paul Burns died aged 52 after colliding with a telegraph pole during the Three Counties Bike Ride that he was undertaking with friends of the British Limbless Ex-Service Men’s Association (BLESMA).
He broke his femur and died a week later on June 7.
In his honour, fellow amputee Yanto Evans, 51, and partner Karen Ward, 45, both close friends of his, rode a tandem recumbent bike from their home town of Banbury, Oxfordshire, all the way to Aldershot Military Cemetery, where they held a short ceremony with members of Mr Burns’ family and guards from the British Legion.
They were also raising money for BLESMA, Para Charity and Pilgrim Bandits – all charities Mr Burns tirelessly supported during his life. They have so far collected more than £3,000.
“We only got one puncture on the whole trip, which was great,” said Karen. “We couldn’t believe the amount of hills but we didn’t get off to push once.
“We got massive support from people as we rode by. We stopped in Fleet High Street and the number of people who came and handed over money was fabulous. It kept us moving for sure.
“Motorcyclists in the British Legion Riders Branch even helped by stopping traffic in Reading, and without them it would have taken us twice as long to get through.”
The whole 77-mile route took eight hours to complete. A support vehicle emblazoned with the logos of the charities followed the couple all the way, driven by Sid Baker and Lisa Phipps.
The short service at the cemetery also marked 34 years since an IRA bomb hit a tank Mr Burns was in at Warrenpoint, Northern Ireland.
It killed 18 of his parachute regiment colleagues and burned his legs to the bone.
He had his left leg amputated immediately and his right leg amputated last January due to the ongoing pain.
He worked hard to support other ex-servicemen who lost their limbs in action and was awarded with the Bowman Award which recognises his work helping individuals overcome grievous injuries.
Mr Evans and Mr Burns served together with the Red Devils 28 years ago, and supported one another through their amputation procedures.
Mr Evans, who was injured in Iraq, described Mr Burns as a valuable source of information in the lead up to his amputation, saying he had arrived at his 50th birthday party last year with photos of his own amputation surgery to talk him through what to expect.
Mr Evans added that he was grateful to the many companies and individuals who had supported him and Karen on the ride.
Money can be donated to the cause via www.justgiving.com/teams/PaulBurnsMemorial .