With the province of Devonshire entering a five year festival in January this year, the Widows Sons Southwest Chapter were keen to support the province. How best to raise money for the Festival and combine motorbikes... that's when our secretary Bro Michael O'Meara came up with the idea to attempt the Saddlesore 1000 the first of the Ironbutt Endurance Runs.
The aim to ride 1000 miles in 24 hours or less. Easy you say, we all can relate to the feeling of been behind the wheel of a car on a long drive, how would you feel driving 1000 miles in 24 hours, now imagine sat on a tiny seat exposed to the elements and having to undertake this mammoth journey
The route was worked out the date was set, now to find other members of the southwest chapter mad enough to undertake and raise the money. A target goal was set to raise £1000, however due to the generosity of family, friends & Brethren from across the country even the world, as of the day the ride took place, we had raised £1500 however this is by no means the final figure we are hope that once all the outstanding pledges have been collected to have raised in excess of £2000.
The day finally came and on Sat 25th August we meet at Exeter service's with family & friends to see us off.
The ride attempt started at 0900 departing Exeter service's Fuel pumps and we headed north towards Glasgow stopping only for fuel, reaching Glasgow we turned to the East heading to Berwick on Tweed on the A1 where when we arrived were greeted by a piper with drummer & brethren from the Northumberland and Durham Chapter of the Widows Sons.
After a quick stop for fuel and leg stretch we headed south on the return leg of the journey, accompanied by the Northumberland & Durham Chapter riders, stopping of at the Angel of the North for a quick photo shoot and to say farewell to our brothers.
Continuing South we meet with members of the Yorkshire Chapter who had a small food package for each of us and rode with us part of the way.
We finally gave in and stopped for coffee and Peterborough Services just as the time approached midnight having racked up 791 miles in just under 15 hours. Fuelled up and topped up we set off once again heading south skirting London before picking up the M4 heading West to Bristol when we turned on to our final leg of the trip arriving back at Exeter service's at 0444 in the morning with 1099 miles under our belt in 19 hours 45mins.
This is what we as Widows Sons do we ride in support of our Masonic responsibilities we do it with pride and engage the public actively promoting the craft.
Yesterday was a great achievement for Jim Hayward, Gary Thomas, Tom Kingman and myself but we are all winners ... We had a day riding around the country meeting friends old and new, doing what we love best as Widows Sons but more importantly we raised funds for the MCF whose hard work helps countless people young and old alike and supports thousands of charities around the country.