Charity ride

Wootton Bassett in Wiltshire has come to represent the nation in paying respect to fallen soldiers as they are repatriated back to the UK and hundreds of people usually line the high street in silence for each funeral cortege that passes through the town on its way from RAF Lyneham to the coroner in Oxford.

On Sunday, however, crowds gathered along the High Street to hear the roar of over 10,000 bikers with about 5,000 pillion passengers pass the war memorial on route. The ride, believed to the biggest of its kind, has raised more than £100,000 so far for the charity Afghan Heroes.

The mayor of Wootton Bassett, Steve Bucknell, said:

The vast majority of the people of the town fully support what the bikers are doing today. ‘Too many times the town has had to stand still in silence but today is all about noise and movement.

The event was originally intended to be just a few friends riding through town but gathered pace after being posted on social networking site Facebook.

The bikers set off from Hullavington Airfield, Wiltshire in waves of 500 along the A429, B4042, Callow Hill to White Hill Lane and the A3102 to Wootton Bassett.

The police, Ministry of Defence and local authorities joined forces to make sure it passed smoothly and opera singer Tim Pitman performed Fields of Green, a song written for Afghan Heroes.

Each biker paid £5 to take part, with some raising more including one biker who handed over £750.

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