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Thousands Of Bikers Honour The Fallen At The National Memorial Arboretum

'Ride to the Wall' is now in its 11th year and transforms the memorial site for one day.

Thousands of motorcyclists drove over the weekend to the National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire to honour the memory of the men and women who died in past conflicts.

'Ride to the Wall' is now in its 11th year and transforms the memorial site into a sea of motorbikes, fluttering flags and black leather jackets adorned with medals.

Founder Martin Dickinson says that even after more than a decade, he is not sure why the event is so emotional:

“I was asking myself the question riding in why this year’s more emotional than previous ones.

"I’ll have the answer maybe in a week or two but not at the moment."

Despite the damp weather, participants thought turnout this year was up on 2017.

"I’ve been coming more or less since the second ride, and I’ve seen it grow every year. It speaks volumes for itself in what it does," said one attendee.

Bikers at the National Memorial Arboretum
Bikers at the National Memorial Arboretum

For Rob and Mandy Sartorious-Jones whose son, Ian, died in Afghanistan in 2012, the event is an important date in their calendar.

“Every time when we ride out of Drayton Manor, I do, I get a lump in my throat,” Rob told said.

“And I struggle a little bit because it is quite overwhelming. But yeah, it’s a nice, warm feeling when you see all the bikers and they’re all here for the same reason as we are and that’s to pay respect.”

“It’s always emotional, every single year is emotional,” Mandy agreed.

Thousands were estimated to have attended the commemoration.
Thousands were estimated to have attended the commemoration.

Another woman said she too had come to pay her respects to those who had died in Afghanistan:

"I lost my nephew in Afghanistan in 2009, he was 1 Para along with two of his friends.

"So I’ve come to lay a triple poppy corsage made by Lady Haig’s poppy factory today in his honour."