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Last Updated: Monday, 15 May 2006, 16:18 GMT 17:18 UK
Charity ride on the western front
Peter Vince and Nigel Petrie
Peter Vince and Nigel Petrie during a charity ride in Spain
Two cyclists are planning a 400-mile charity ride following the line of World War I's western front.

Nigel Petrie from Langollen, Denbighshire, and Peter Vince, from Sussex, will start their epic trip in Pfetterhouse, Switzerland, on Friday.

The 10-day challenge to raise money for the Royal British Legion will take them past some of WWI's bloodiest battles.

The pair will cycle through the Vosges mountains, and The Somme, before finishing in Nieuwpoort, Belgium.

They aim to raise 12,000 to buy three electric wheelchairs for injured war veterans.

The pair are no strangers to charity bike rides, and have clocked up around 8,000 miles since 1988.

Nigel, a business consultant, said: "We're doing this as an act of remembrance for those on all sides who died in the First World War.

"We both have a deep interest in the First World War and we thought it would be good to set a precedent for future pilgrims, to mark the line as a route for fundraisers in the future."

"Another more tangible reason for the ride is that we're hoping to raise 12,000 to purchase three electric wheelchairs.

"Each will go to a veteran from conflicts ranging from the Second World War to the First Gulf War, and Iraq.

"We're calling ourselves 'Wheels4freedom', because that's what these chairs provide to those with limited mobility".

The western front
Soldiers on the western front endured a grim life in the trenches

Britain lost around a million men during the war, most of them on the western front, a 440-mile-long border line stretching from the Swiss border to the North Sea.

The route is now littered with monuments and cemeteries that mark the bravery of those who fought here.

Teresa Greener, of the Royal British Legion said: "We are extremely grateful to Peter and Nigel for their fundraising efforts on behalf of the legion. It is help like this that makes it possible for the legion's vital work to continue."

Anyone wishing to sponsor the men should visit www.bmycharity.com/wheels4freedom.

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