Last Sunday, 4th August, saw some of the Prova Auto team join the ‘Thankful Villages Run’ to spend 12 hours riding in the rain on the last leg of the 2,500 mile charity motorcycle tour. The brainchild of motorcyclists Dougie Bancroft and Medwyn Parry, the Thankful Villages Run was designed to commemorate the 51 Villages in the UK that were fortunate enough to have all their soldiers return home alive at the end of the Great War in 1918.
The tour visited each village to present the community with a slate plaque to commemorate those who were fortunate enough to return home at the end of the Great War. The ride also hopes to raise £51,000 in aid of the Royal British Legion.
The final 200 mile day started at the National Memorial Arboretum, near Lichfield, and finished in West Wales, near Aberystwyth, where the team had started the ride nine days earlier. Unfortunately, the weather was not ideal for riding motorcycles: rain, more rain and even more rain, great!
However, the weather didn’t dampen the enthusiasm of those involved with the project or the motorcyclists that turned out to support Dougie, Medwyn and their team. More than 50 bikes took part on the last day and made an impressive sight on the roads between the West Midlands and West Wales.
As the convoy of bikes headed through the countryside, it attracted a great deal of interest and a huge amount of support. Even with the horrendous weather, people came out to cheer and wave at riders as they passed through towns and villages en route, a sight that made those taking part want to carry on towards their final destination near the west coast of Wales.
The riders visited the final three villages of the tour to present their plaques and were greeted with such amazing welcomes, with all the villages turning out to see the riders and receive their plaques. During the ride, a number of the local police forces laid on escorts to make sure the whole convoy remained together to enter the villages a complete unit.
The bikes finally reached their goal at 20:40 on Sunday evening. The whole village of Llanfihangel y Creuddyn, near Aberystwyth, came out to welcome the riders back and the emotion of the team could be seen by everyone as both Dougie and Medwyn climbed off their bikes and removed their helmets. Following a brief catch up with loved ones, the team attended a church service to officially welcome them home. A true Welsh welcome, which included some rousing singing which certainly helped to wake those riders who were struggling a little after a long day in the saddle.
It’s not every day that you get involved in a project that touches the hearts of so many and inspires countless numbers of people to get involved. The Thankful Villages Run has been a truly inspiring project to work on and the story hasn’t finished yet. Next year all of the villages will once again be united as they all unveil their plaques at 11am on the 3rd of August, 100 years after the outbreak of the First World War.
For further information about the Thankful Villages Run please visit thankfulvillagesrun.com.