Dear Chief Secretary to the Treasury,
I'm afraid to tell you there's no money left.
Signed, Liam Byrne

(Outgoing Labour Chief Secretary to the Treasury. May 2010)

Monday, 15 March 2010

A thankyou from Afghan Heroes

If you'd like to see what those who took part thought of yesterday's 'ride through' or 'ride out' then pop over to the Afghan Heroes blog.

There are two threads running, one about the day and another about wristbands, both contain a lot of comments showing how both residents and participants felt about the day.

Here's a taster
new resident of Wootton Bassett from 2009 – have attended as many re-pats as I am able, so was delighted that such an event held in and around the town yesterday 14th March – walked up to town and spent about 2 hours there watching the riders come down the high street – proudly waved my AH flag, wooped, clapped and high-fived some of the pillion riders – what a way to spend a sunday morning – thank you so much for coming to the town and making it a happy day to remember amongsts so many sad and reflective ones.
I would firstly like to thank the organisers, the mothers, the police and everyone involved in what I think was the best bike event I have ever been to. I will never forget the first sight or the runway that was being filled for the second time by the time we left the base on route to Wootton Bassett. I was blown away by the numbers of locals that lined the streets families, pub go-ers all in the carparks and gardens.I wasnt expecting to be thanked for taking part and I certainly was’nt expecting to be choking back tears when thanked by a woman in Wootton Basset on the ride through.Lastly and by no means an after thought a huge heart felt thanks to every one who was in Wootton Bassett yesterday bless you all not only for yesterday but for what you do for our fallen soldiers.You live in a very special place and everyeone who attended yesterday got a small taste of the emotion that your wonderful village has to offer.Again many thanks
They say that Woodstock defined a generation, well perhaps Wootton Bassett mothers day ride out by bikers defines the feelings of this generation.

My ticket number is 12033. With my wife Maggy as pillion (and a lot of others) that’s around 15000 people riding through Wootton Bassett in support of British troops, perhaps the biggest motorcycle ride out in history?

But enough of numbers, the constant roar of bikes and the cheering crowds says much about British support and feelings right now. I saw a chap with a hastily painted board by his front gate declaring “Well Done!”, locals with flags or just applauding and cheering. They were not cheering me, just the sentiment of the day, support for our troops.

By 11.00 the taxiway at Hullavington was about full and the first group of two lines was led off by a police escort, with blue lights flickering.

When our turn eventually came, we were led through a maze of country lanes by police motorcyclists with blue lights flashing, enjoying a beautiful sunny day. Wherever a small hamlet, Farm or just a lone house was passed, the people came out and cheered and waved flags, we answered as best we could by revving our engines and tooting the horns. This seemed to encourage them to even louder cheering.

Eventually we came into the now famous Wootten Bassett high street. I felt humbled to be riding through there, somehow not worthy to follow the path of so many brave troops. The street was lined just as we had seen on TV, not this time by grave and dignified crowds, but by happy, smiling people of all kinds. From the youngest to the oldest all were cheering and waving flags, perhaps glad of something bright and cheerful to see in their street.

As I rode out of Wootten Basset toward the M4 I felt humbled, and yet filled with joy that British pride still exists, its just not so easy to find now-days. But if you look hard enough its still there. I feel proud to be British again.

Thanks to all the Police and organisers who made this possible, but mostly, thanks to the people of Wootten Bassett.

Now if only the people who sent our troops to these far flung places could recognise the core of feeling in the British public.
There's a slight note of sadness that the event didn't hit the headlines which is quite right, it should have done, shouldn't it? Don't 15,000 people doing something good count, or are we supposed to be miserable all the time?
it was a brilliant turnout well done everyone. shame the press felt it was not news worthy enough though only a short mention at the end of the news broadcasts and not one national paper put it on the front page. i guess it still stands the biker saying when we do good no one listens when we do bad everyone listens. oh well i suppose we should be used to it by now. once again well done everyone.
There's nothing Mrs R can add, except to say well done to everybody who was involved in this event.

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