The ‘Pilgrim Grandfathers’ from Great Torrington will be cycling hundreds of miles this May to raise enough money to finish building their giant bonfire.
The seven strong group are all members of Torrington Cavaliers and as part of the Mayflower 400 celebrations will be cycling from Holland to Plymouth, setting off on April 30.
This year is the 400th anniversary of the sailing of the Mayflower and the original Pilgrim Fathers from Plymouth to America and in commemoration Torrington Cavaliers have built a life-size replica of the ship, which will be burned on August 29.
It is also the 50th anniversary year of the Torrington fundraising group, which is famous for its giant bonfires, that in past years have included replicas of the Houses of Parliament, the Great Fire of London, HMS Victory and Torrington Castle.
The Cavaliers are officially an 'on board' partner of the Mayflower 400 team which are coordinating the national commemoration and the links with the USA and the Netherlands.
The burning of the Mayflower is hoping to raise more than £100,000 for local charities.
The cyclists will be Bernie Wittram, a long-serving Cavalier, together with six of his friends, who are going the extra mile to raise additional funds towards the building of the bonfire.
The Pilgrim Grandfathers have an average age of 70-years-old and they will be cycling from Liden in Holland to the Plymouth Mayflower Centre, following the steps of the original Pilgrim Fathers, many of whom were religious exiles in Holland who made their way to Plymouth to board the Mayflower and sail to America.
There will be a civic reception at The Port of Harwich on April 30 for The Pilgrim Grandfathers and a reception at the Plymouth Mayflower Centre, where they will complete their journey on May 9.
The cycle tour will be completed in nine stages and the team will pass through Torrington on May 7.
Bernie said: "This is probably the most challenging project our group of amateur cyclists have ever undertaken but it will certainly be worth the effort to raise vital funds for North Devon Hospice, Devon Air Ambulance, Guide Dogs for the Blind and Torrington Common Conservators.
"The Torrington Cavaliers have achieved national, and international recognition as builders of sophisticated structures, following as near as possible the design of the original and the building of the Mayflower ship will undoubtedly be their most ambitious to date.
"We are very proud to support their magnificent efforts and hope to raise in excess of £5,000 for their charities."
If you would like to sponsor the Pilgrim Grandfathers, go to https://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/Team/ThePilgrimGrandfathers .