Tour de Forces welcomed to Braunton

The team cycle in to the Williams Arms in Braunton escorted by 10 Royal Marines The team cycle in to the Williams Arms in Braunton escorted by 10 Royal Marines

Thursday, October 4, 2012
12:23 PM

After a gruelling 33 days on the road, the intrepid cyclists and runners were welcomed to North Devon on the final leg of their journey.

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The team: Sean Aiken, Mark 'Rammers' Ormrod, Paul Shearsby, Stevie Budge and Dodge Holls (missing from photo: Charles 'Chunks' Padilla)The team: Sean Aiken, Mark 'Rammers' Ormrod, Paul Shearsby, Stevie Budge and Dodge Holls (missing from photo: Charles 'Chunks' Padilla)

A GROUP of inspirational fundraisers cycling 3,000 miles round the British coastline were welcomed to Braunton by two pipe bands and an escort of 10 Royal Marines yesterday.

The Tour de Forces team had been running, cycling and hand-cycling through the wind and rain for 33 days when they arrived in North Devon on the final leg of their journey.

In August the Gazette reported the idea was that of Braunton man Paul Shearsby, and it quickly gathered momentum raising money for four charities.

The team included former Royal Marine Commando Mark ‘Rammers’ Ormrod, who lost both legs and an arm in an I.E.D explosion in Afghanistan in 2007.

Team leader Paul Shearsby with proud mum Sue Shearsby.Team leader Paul Shearsby with proud mum Sue Shearsby.

Arriving in Braunton Paul, who broke his record last week cycling 100 miles in eight hours, said it felt amazing to be back home.

He said: “It’s been a lot harder than expected, and there hasn’t been a day when we haven’t had problems.

“Coming back to my hometown like this is amazing; it’s going to be hard to get back on the road again tomorrow but we are so close now.”

The team were welcomed by representatives from the Bideford Youth Pipe Band and the North Devon Pipes and Drums Band as they cycled into the William’s Arms pub.

They stayed the night at RMB Chivenor before setting off again through Barnstaple.

Sue Shearsby, Paul’s mum, said she was ‘absolutely bursting with pride’ about what the team had achieved.

She said: “When Paul came up with the idea I told him I thought he was mad.

“But to think in three days they will have cycled more than 3,000 miles, I can’t even put in to words how much pride I feel.”

The team will complete its journey in Plymouth on Saturday and celebrate with a ball, auctioning off donated items including a pair of swimming trunks signed by Olympian Tom Daley.

The money raised from the challenge will be split between the Royal Marine Association, The Royal British Legion, and Semper FI Fund and the British Limbless Ex Service Men’s Association (BLESMA).

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