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Page last updated at 15:45 GMT, Tuesday, 19 January 2010
Bikers To Honour Afghan Heroes on Mother's Day
By Sarah Jones
BBC Wiltshire

Afghan Heroes - Bike Run
An 18 year-old biker's plan for a Bike Run, with a few friends, in support of Wootton Bassett attracts thousands

Nearly 15,000 bikers are expected to converge on Wootton Bassett this year, on Mother's Day.

The spectacular mass ride, due to head through the town on Sunday 14 March, is to honour the people of the Wiltshire town and the soldiers who have lost their lives in Afghanistan.

The Bike Run, which has attracted thousands of motorcyclists from across North Wales, Derbyshire, Yorkshire and the South East, was the idea of 18-year-old biker Elizabeth Stevens.

Overwhelming response

Elizabeth, a mechanics student at the Central Bedfordshire College, had only planned to ride through the town with a few friends.

Afghan Heroes - Bike Run
The 18-year-old Bike Run organiser Elizabeth Stevens and her partner

"Our local bike club was throwing around the idea of a bike run," says Elizabeth, "so I decided to make a Facebook page, and it's just taken off."

Since launching the Wootton Bassett Bike Run, at the beginning of the year, Elizabeth and fellow organisers Daniel Forder and Julia Stevenson have been inundated.

The people of Wootton Bassett will witness a massive show of appreciation on Mother's Day when 15,000 bikers pass through the town.

The parade should also raise up to £75,000 for the Afghan heroes charity, with everyone taking part paying £5.

Riders and pillions will meet at Hullavington airfield before moving on to the market town.

M4 Convoy

Gathering at the Leigh Delamare Services, on the M4 (Junction 17-eastbound), the mass convoy of bikers are due to hit the motorway at midday on March 14 before slowly heading along the A-roads towards Wootton Bassett and RAF Lyneham.

And Elizabeth, who will be riding pillion on her partner's 1200 Harley Davidson Sportster, will be one of the riders leading the run.

"To have so many people thinking of us on Mother's Day is just astonishing and overwhelming," says Denise Harris, whose son Corporal Lee Scott, aged 26, lost his life in an explosion last July, "and it will be very emotional to see so many bikers showing their support to the people of Wootton Bassett, and for our boys and Girls."

"I believe everyone at the RAF base is also pleased that so many people want to pay their respects to the fallen and to Wootton Bassett for everything they have done and we will be proud to accept the funds raised at the air base."




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