Northamptonshire Ride to Remember launches county Poppy Appeal honouring forgotten heroes

Royal British Legion Poppy Appeal county launch with scooter and motorbike rally from Brixworth to Harrington Air Base War Memorial.
Royal British Legion Poppy Appeal county launch with scooter and motorbike rally from Brixworth to Harrington Air Base War Memorial.

Bikers and scooter riders have combined forces on a Ride to Remember to launch the Northamptonshire Royal British Legion Poppy Appeal 2019.

More than 40 bikers from Northants Pals and all three county scooter clubs gathered to at the Special Operations Executive memorial near Harrington.

Kevin Hogben, Gary Capps and Nick Wake

Kevin Hogben, Gary Capps and Nick Wake

Marking the Royal British Legion’s ‘Unsung Heroes Past and Present’ theme, the riders, some of whom are also veterans, laid a poppy wreath.

Former Kettering soldier and scooter enthusiast Gary Capps said: “The Royal British Legion do really well supporting the families of people in the services.

“It’s important to buy a poppy and support the appeal. To wear one is a symbol of respect for your grandfathers and fathers and people in the forces now.”

Mr Capps, 59, joined the 2nd Battalion of the Anglian Regiment as a 17-year-old, in 1977.

Gary Capps  from Kettering

Gary Capps from Kettering

After 18 months’ initial training, he was sent to Northern Ireland for a tour of duty.

He said: “It was very scary. You didn’t know what you were getting into but the adrenaline kept me going. It was horrible but we had some great times.”

Nick Wake from Northampton also joined the Royal Anglians in 1977 and served until 1985 with tours of Northern Ireland, Belize, Cyprus, Germany and Canada.

He said: “I feel that we are the forgotten heroes. We still need to honour the heroes of the First and the Second World War but there are people who served in places like Aden who have been forgotten.”

Eddie Edmunds - Brixworth RBL Poppy Appeal organiser

Eddie Edmunds - Brixworth RBL Poppy Appeal organiser

Mark Hammond rode his ‘Lest We Forget’ decorated Vespa on the rally.

The 49-year-old said: “It means a lot to me. I’ve had uncles and cousins fight and die. My cousin Paul Roseblade was killed in action.

“This is a tribute to all soldiers and respect for what they’ve done for the country.”

Former soldier Kevin Hogben, a member of the Armed Forces Scooter Club and veteran of four tours of Northern Ireland, joined the act of Remembrance.

Mark Hammond with his 'Lest We Forget'  Vespa

Mark Hammond with his 'Lest We Forget' Vespa

The 62-year-old served with the 36 Regiment Royal Artillery, including three months undercover during the Troubles.

He said: “It was frightening. It seems to get overlooked. Seeing the scooter and bikers makes me really proud. We’re all brothers in arms.”

The riders laid a wreath at the newly restored monument in Lamport Road after an act of Remembrance.

Giles Coleman, community fundraiser for Northamptonshire Royal British Legion, said: “It went like clockwork. This year the Legion commemorates those unsung heroes past and present.

“What better place than the unsung heroes of SOE and their base at the Harrington Airfield?

“We remember also those veterans and those currently serving in peacetime roles.”

Scooters and motorbikes arrive at the Harrington Air Base War Memorial

Scooters and motorbikes arrive at the Harrington Air Base War Memorial