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London Mayor and singer Laura Wright launch Legion ride

30 August 2011

London Mayor Boris Johnson and classical chart topping singer Laura Wright today launched Pedal to Paris 2011, The Royal British Legion's flagship bike ride in support of the Afghanistan generation of the Armed Forces.

Laura Wright prepares for Pedal to Paris 2011Laura showed the Mayor her bike handling skills were just as good as her singing, as she prepares to take part in the 285-mile journey from London to Paris to help raise money towards the fundraising target of £500,000 for The Royal British Legion Battle Back Centre.   

The Legion's £30 million Battle Back Centre, due to open in autumn this year, will be a national centre of excellence for adventurous training and adaptive sports to aid the recovery of injured Service personnel.

The Centre will enable wounded, injured and long term sick Service personnel to regain their fitness and return to duty, or reskill and make a successful transition to civilian life.

The Mayor of London Boris Johnson said: "The Royal British Legion does amazing work to support the brave men and women who have served in our Armed Forces, and their families and loved ones. As these intrepid cyclists set off to Paris I urge everyone to dig deep to support this great cause."

Laura Wright said: "I was a Corporal in the Combined Cadet Force when I was younger, and have always known about the Legion's great work for our Service people. When I heard about the Battle Back Centre, I really wanted to support the project through Pedal to Paris. The ride itself is going to be a huge challenge, and I'll be very happy when I see the Arc de Triomphe!"

Over 300 cyclists, including many serving and ex-Service personnel, will saddle up for this year's Pedal to Paris, starting from Greenwich Park on Thursday 1 September, and reaching Paris on Sunday 4 September 2011.

This is Legion's 16th annual Pedal to Paris event and is the only charity ride to be escorted into the French capital by police outriders. The ride culminates in a moving memorial service at the Arc de Triomphe which is shut especially for the Legion's cyclists. The only other cycling event that receives this honour is the Tour de France.

The Legion's Director of Fundraising and National Events Russell Thompson said: "We are thrilled to have the support of Mayor Boris Johnson and Laura Wright for this year's Pedal to Paris. The ride is a fantastic event with tremendous encouragement between participants, especially over the big hills!"

More information about Pedal to Paris can be found on our PoppyBike microsite - www.poppybike.org.uk

Media contact:
Afsheen Latif, Public Relations Officer, The Royal British Legion
T: 0203 207 2243 M: 07901 110 819 E: alatif@britishlegion.org.uk

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