Portsmouth couple honour hero grandfather by following his cycling route

18 April 2016 09:52

A couple from Portsmouth will be cycling from London to Devon in five days this July in memory of their grandfather and in aid of Blind Veterans UK, the national charity for vision-impaired ex-Service men and women.

Caroline Northmore, 23 and from Southsea, wanted to commemorate the one year anniversary of her grandfather's death on 13 July 2016. Together with her boyfriend Mike and brother Dom, she will cycle from London to Devon via Brighton, a distance of nearly 300 miles while the rest of the family supports them along the way.

Caroline and her family want to raise money for Blind Veterans UK, the charity that supported her grandfather, Morris Lashbrook, during the last seven years of his life while he suffered from sight loss.

Mike says: "I'm really looking forward to the challenge, it's great to be doing a ride which has such a significance as well as being for a great cause."

Morris joined the Army in 1933 when he was just 17 years old and served as a Driver in the Royal Army Service Corps. He later transferred to the Royal Electrical Mechanical Engineers during the Second World War in 1942. Morris served in Malta, Egypt, Lebanon, Italy, Austria and Germany. He left the Army in 1958 as a Warrant Officer Class II, the second highest rank for a non-commissioned officer.

It wasn't until much later in life that Morris started losing his sight and he was later diagnosed with age related macular degeneration (ARMD). He started receiving help and support from Blind Veterans UK in 2008.

Caroline says: "He went to the charity's Brighton centre a few times where he tried out blind shooting and blind archery. That has stuck with me because of how excited he was over it.

"My grandad was an incredibly man, a true gentleman, loyal, kind, generous, and unbelievably strong. He was also very active thanks to, not only his attitude, but also Blind Veterans UK. Without their help he wouldn't have been able to do many everyday tasks like planting vegetables, preparing them or writing a grocery list.

"The entire family is grateful for the charity's support to my grandfather which is why we want to give something back."
The route they will cycle is significant to the family as when Morris was 14 and living in London with his father, he wanted to go back to Devon where he lived with his mother before her death a few years before. He ran away from home and cycled all the way to Brighton before a Police Officer found him and sent him back home. Now, on July 13th they will be following in his cycling tracks and finish the route he was never able to.

Caroline, Mike and Dom are looking forward to the cycle and have started training already to be able to ride for five days consecutively.

Caroline says: "At the moment I'm cycling to work and uni and we have the best intentions each weekend to go out for a longer cycle ride - though it hasn't happened yet.

"I think doing around 60 miles will be fine but doing it five days in a row is what we need to train for!"

Caroline's mother, Pat, will join them on the last day of the cycle which is set to finish in Luppitt and together the family will hold a memorial to their grandfather.

To support Caroline and her family while they cycle 250 miles in memory of their grandfather for Blind Veterans UK, please visit www.justgiving.com/Morris-Lashbrook.