Support ‘humbles’ Tour de Forces team on way through Norfolk

Big Picnic party to welcome members of the Tour de Forces, a group of military heroes who are walking and cycling around the UK coast to raise money for four charities.

As part of the tour they are passing through and staying overnight in Gorleston and a party style community picnic is being organised to welcome them as they arrive.

Picture: James Bass Big Picnic party to welcome members of the Tour de Forces, a group of military heroes who are walking and cycling around the UK coast to raise money for four charities. As part of the tour they are passing through and staying overnight in Gorleston and a party style community picnic is being organised to welcome them as they arrive. Picture: James Bass

By Sam Russell
Saturday, September 8, 2012
9:12 AM

Royal Marine hero Mark Ormrod was “humbled” by Norfolk’s support as he trekked through the county on a 3,000 mile mission.

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Big Picnic party to welcome members of the Tour de Forces, a group of military heroes who are walking and cycling around the UK coast to raise money for four charities.

As part of the tour they are passing through and staying overnight in Gorleston and a party style community picnic is being organised to welcome them as they arrive.

Picture: James BassBig Picnic party to welcome members of the Tour de Forces, a group of military heroes who are walking and cycling around the UK coast to raise money for four charities. As part of the tour they are passing through and staying overnight in Gorleston and a party style community picnic is being organised to welcome them as they arrive. Picture: James Bass

For the triple amputee – who lost both legs and an arm to an Afghan landmine in 2007 – is clocking up the miles on a hand-bike to raise awareness and funds to support injured servicemen.

The Tour de Forces team is rounding the UK coastline in 30 days for four charities, and more than 100 turned out to Gorleston cliffs to cheer the team on.

“When we approached Gorleston cliffs I didn’t think the people there were for us as there were so many,” revealed Mark. “It was pretty humbling.

“It’s pretty tough with one arm, and I’ve already broken my brake cable and two bike chains in less than a week – the support has really helped.”

Big Picnic party to welcome members of the Tour de Forces, a group of military heroes who are walking and cycling around the UK coast to raise money for four charities.

As part of the tour they are passing through and staying overnight in Gorleston and a party style community picnic is being organised to welcome them as they arrive.

Picture: James BassBig Picnic party to welcome members of the Tour de Forces, a group of military heroes who are walking and cycling around the UK coast to raise money for four charities. As part of the tour they are passing through and staying overnight in Gorleston and a party style community picnic is being organised to welcome them as they arrive. Picture: James Bass

The 29-year-old, of Plymouth, was the first triple amputee from Afghanistan to survive such devastating injuries.

He decided to inspire others after he was given help, and on the Tour de Forces is supporting the British Limbless Ex Service Men’s Association (Blesma), the Royal British Legion (RBL), Royal Marines’ Association and the Semper Fi Fund.

The six-strong team arrived in Gorleston on Thursday, made its way through north Norfolk to King’s Lynn yesterday and is heading to Grimsby today.

Paul Shearsby, team leader, said: “It’s been tiring but the charities have been fantastic supporting us and getting people out to cheer us on. It really boosts morale for the team.”

More than 100 welcomed the team to Gorleston, with a performance by the 469 Lowestoft Squadron Air Cadets band on a stage donated by the East Coast Truckers.

Standard bearers of RBL Norfolk and Suffolk branches attended, and RBL member Joyce Cooper put the travellers up for the night in her Gorleston home.

Bob Monkhouse, secretary of the Yarmouth and Lowestoft branch of Blesma, said: “They’re an inspiration and give people that ‘life goes on’ outlook – that nothing’s impossible. I was surprisingly pleased with the turnout. It just shows you how respected the armed forces are by the public.”

For details see www.tourdeforces.com

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