Ride to the Wall founder Martin Dickinson arrives at the NMA (Picture: National Memorial Arboretum).
Ride to the Wall founder Martin Dickinson arrives at the NMA (Picture: National Memorial Arboretum).
Veterans

Motorcyclists honour fallen with pilgrimage to National Memorial Arboretum

Ride to the Wall founder Martin Dickinson arrives at the NMA (Picture: National Memorial Arboretum).
Ride to the Wall founder Martin Dickinson arrives at the NMA (Picture: National Memorial Arboretum).

Thousands of motorcyclists have made their annual 'Ride to the Wall' pilgrimage to the Armed Forces Memorial at the National Memorial Arboretum (NMA) in Staffordshire.

They paid tribute to those who 'can no longer ride by our side' with a service of remembrance, remembering fallen UK Armed Service personnel whose names are engraved on the NMA's walls.

Many travelled from 11 start locations around the UK, but some came from as far afield as Spain. On their arrival, they were greeted by Northern Ireland veteran David 'Blu' Sheaf who salutes every rider as they pass, standing to attention for five hours.

The remembrance service began with a flypast of WWII-era Spitfire fighter aircraft and a Lancaster bomber, finishing with a minute's silence, the laying of wreaths and the national anthem played by the Band of the Irish Guards.

Since the first Ride to the Wall event in 2008, 'Wallers' have raised more than £1.35m to support the National Memorial Arboretum.

The site hosts more than 400 memorials to those who have served and sacrificed in national service, with 150 acres of gardens, grounds and woodlands.

A Lancaster aircraft flies overhead the National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire during a Ride to the Wall event (Picture: National Memorial Arboretum).
A Lancaster flies overhead (Picture: National Memorial Arboretum).

The event's founder Martin Dickinson said: "Each year we gather at Ride to the Wall to remember those who can no longer ride by our side, ensuring that the names on the walls of the Armed Forces Memorial are never forgotten.

"Through the dedication and support of the extended Waller family, we want to help make sure that the National Memorial Arboretum can continue to share the stories of those who have served and sacrificed for our country."

Philippa Rawlinson, Director of the National Memorial Arboretum, said: "The Arboretum is usually a quiet and tranquil place to reflect, so the incredible sight and sound of thousands of motorcyclists coming together to pay their deep and heartfelt respects is such a unique and poignant way to remember the fallen."