Former Frodsham soldier embarking on Queen-themed cycle ride in memory of comrades who took own lives

A former Frodsham soldier has organised a cycle ride themed around rock band Queen to support ex-service personnel after losing eight comrades to suicide.

Richard Smith, 44, who was a sergeant in the Coldstream Guards, is part of a six-strong veterans team cycling 330 miles in 72 hours to raise funds for Armed Forces charity SSAFA.

A huge Queen fan, Richard said proceeds would also be split with The Mercury Phoenix Trust – a health charity established in memory of the band’s vocalist Freddie Mercury who died of AIDS in 1991.



The married father, who served in Afghanistan, Iraq and Northern Ireland but was medically discharged after suffering a serious ankle injury in training, said: “My team is trying to show ex-veterans there is hope for them when they leave the forces. Since I left in 2013 I have lost eight of my colleagues to suicide.

“I hope this ride can show that even if you’re injured, both physically and mentally, we can push ourselves to overcome challenges and that there is support available through fantastic charities like SSAFA. If doing this ride saves one soldier, then I will have succeeded.”

Richard, a First Aid trainer for St John Ambulance, has set a route from Munich in Germany, where Queen’s A Kind of Magic album was recorded, to Montreux in Switzerland where six studio albums were made.

Montreux is also home to a Freddie Mercury statue overlooking Lake Geneva.

And Richard, who is Group Scout Leader at 4th Frodsham (Overton) Scout Group, hopes some of the Scouts and their parents can back the ride in April by following in the support vehicle.

Local MP Mike Amesbury, who previously took up Richard’s campaign in favour of licensed fireworks displays to reduce the stress for people with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), hopes the community can get behind his constituent’s fundraiser.

He said: “People like Richard put their lives on the line for their country but issues like PTSD and adjusting to civilian life can take their toll on a person’s mental health.

“Please support this sponsored ride, if you can, to help the charities involved and if you’re a business owner then please consider digging deep to sponsor the venture in cash or in kind. Thank you.”

Links to the Just Giving pages can be found here: www.justgiving.com/fundraising/richard-smith223 and www.justgiving.com/fundraising/richard-smith224

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