A HERO soldier undertaking a 500-mile cycle ride across England, despite losing a leg, is being backed by a Sheffield couple who are helping to run a military charity’s support centre.
Private Matt Woollard, 22, of the Royal Anglian Regiment, is pedalling from Surrey to Harrogate and back in six days.
En route he has already paused in Sheffield, spending a night at the Manor Top Territorial Army Barracks before continuing north.
Pte Woollard is being accompanied on the ride by six able-bodied cyclists, including Army colleagues, who all aim to raise £10,000.
The money will go towards much-needed renovation work at the Surrey base of Christian military welfare charity Sandes, which is run by Phil and Jillian Orme, from Sheffield.
Phil, 51, who used to live in Gleadless and who is among those accompanying Matt on his trip, said: “Soldiers use our centre for recreation, a quick meal or to rest. It offers support to thousands of young recruits including many from South Yorkshire and Derbyshire.
“Pte Woollard lost his right leg in Afghanistan in 2007, so to ride 500 miles is quite a challenge – but he has managed so far.”
Phil, a former member of 38 Signal Regiment of the TA based at Manor Top in the late 1970s, added: “When we stopped in Sheffield we had a great reception – we went to Asda at Manor Top to buy food and the manager gave us £30. Two girls – Chloe and Megan Hallam – then volunteered to go collecting from door to door and raised £120.”
Pte Woollard said: “Phil and Jillian have been a great support to me.” Log on to www.bmycharity.com/mattwoollard to sponsor him.