A group of fundraisers are gearing up to pedal from Bognor Regis to Normandy to boost the funds of a charity close to their hearts following the tragic death of a former soldier from the town. And they have already raised an incredible £90,000.
Danny Johnston took his own life last year. It is believed that he was suffering with mental health issues caused by PTSD, depression and anxiety. Now the cyclists will make a three-day trip riding from the Pink Pub in North Bersted to Pegasus Bridge in France on June 3 — arriving on the 75th Anniversary of D-Day to commemorate — and they will do so dressed in World War Two army uniforms.
Businesses all over West Sussex have been digging deep to support the efforts of the cyclists who have been riding out in Bognor and Chichester to raise money and awareness for their cause.
A spokesman for the riders, who will saddle up on vintage bicycles worth under £25, said: “Danny was an experienced soldier, serving his country for many years as part of The Tigers — the Princess of Wales Royal Regiment and he had a distinguished career which saw him serve as part of the Special Reconnaissance Regiment a special forces unit assisting the SAS and SBS providing critical intelligence behind enemy lines. Unfortunately, Danny lost his life as a result of not receiving the support he needed.
“We will arrive on the anniversary of D-Day to commemorate and show our respect to of all those men and women who bravely risked or laid down their lives in service to our country to give us our freedom. We will not forget them.”
The charity in question, All Call Signs, was formed after the loss of Danny with the aim of trying to help ex-servicemen who are struggling with coming to terms with their service. A spokesman explained:
“It is a peer-to-peer chat service giving those who feel they need to communicate and discuss personal issues. Volunteers who provide support are all ex-servicemen and women who genuinely care about the wellbeing of their fellow comrades. They truly understand the real stresses and struggles military personnel and veterans may be going through and will listen.
“The aim of All Call Signs is to use technology and the power of the community to improve the lives of service personnel and veterans. The charity hopes to reduce the number of self-harm incidents and suicides in the military community and create a happier, healthier life for individuals suffering with mental health issues like PTSD, depression and anxiety.”
A partner charity for the ride is Last Night A DJ Saved My Life, which creates fundraising events and initiatives for the electronic music industry and beyond to raise money and support children in crisis around the world.
In order to support mental health, the charity will be assisting to raise money for this cause. Around 90 per cent of all cash raised will be forwarded to All Call Signs as a charitable grant to help them grow. And 10 per cent of the funds raised will be used by LNADJ to support their charity and to create wells in Africa in memory of and dedicated to Danny as a lasting legacy.