Teddy Bear Relay Charity Ride 2014
In summer of 2014, Philip Kerwood had an idea. The idea he had was for a motorbike relay to take place, little did he know something huge was about to happen.
It started with a post to a bike group on Facebook, “If I organised a motorbike relay, would anybody be interested in taking part?” replies of interest started coming through and on the 30th August 2014 the group, Teddy Bear Relay Charity Ride was created. There was lots of rider interest and ideas being expressed throughout the group.
The dream of the Teddy Bear Relay Ride became this, a UK none stop relay, where a teddy bear mascot is passed from rider to rider.
A small team of wonderful organisers were brought together one by one during the weeks. They had lots of thoughtful contributions and ideas to help take the group forward in its quest. Many things were happening behind the scenes, planning the relay and raising of funds. Hours were spent calculating and allocating routes to riders which would all eventually come together and be our relay. I cannot express the amount of hard work that went in to make this dream of Philips, which was fast becoming the dream of others, a reality.
As ideas and plans came together, this dream became bigger and bigger. An application was put in to Guinness World Records to see if they would recognise the relay as a world record. Help for heroes were chosen as the charity and everything was starting to fall in to place.
Was this even possible? Would we make it to the end? If it hadn’t of been for the support of all the riders involved, this idea, which was now a dream, it wouldn’t have got this far.
As 2014 is the begining of The First World War Centenary, the relay had a direction and a view. We would take our mascot and riders, on their motorbikes, all around the UK. We would pay our respects to all our fallen soldiers, at as many different war memorials as possible, as a group, whilst raising funds for our injured, and this would take place over remembrance weekend. We would then bring the relay to a close at the cenotaph in London on 11/11/14.
A mascot was needed for the relay and a fantastic little bear, wearing a rugby shirt, from help for heroes soon popped up on our screens.
This little chap needed a name and bidding commenced. After five days of members bidding, Sharon Roberts prevailed and was the one to name our bear. Sharon named our bear after her great grandfather Bertie, a solider and war hero in World War 1. He signed up at the tender age of 15, claiming he was of an older age, as many of our war heroes did during this war.
Bertie our Teddy Bear Relay mascot was born.
Things were moving fast and the relay was approaching. Relay riders purchased charity clothing for themselves and flags to decorate their bikes with flags and poppys. They went out and collected sponsorship and encouraged other bikers to join. Relay riders practiced routes and contacted the other relay riders they would be meeting over the weekend.
Before we knew it, the weekend of the relay had arrived.
On Saturday 8th November 2014 at 10.30am, Philip was waiting with Bertie at, The National Memorial Arboretum, a site of remembrance in, Staffordshire, England. There was lots of excitement as the riders gathered for the start of the teddy bear relay.
At 11 am Bertie was all packed up and safe, on the bike of our first relay rider. With his support rider by his side they were ready to start Bertie’s none stop, day and night relay, with a salute for the fallen troops. Bertie went on his way, to be handed over, to another rider at another memorial, somewhere in the country.
Over the weekend as riders started arriving at the memorials all across the UK, hands were shaken photographs were taken, friendships were made and meeting Bertie was the main highlight for all our relay riders and carrying him became an honour.
All of Bertie’s progress was documented live via Teddy Bear Relay charity ride. Our relay riders and support riders were glued to the page, waiting for updates and pictures of where Bertie was. Everybody sending each other messages of encouragement. People were popping in from all over the county sending messages of support in admiration, following our little bear on his relay. He grew in all our hearts, creating friendships that will last a long time.
On Tuesday 11/11/14 Bertie was heading into London for the cenotaph. The final group of relay riders gathered just outside of London waiting for Bertie to arrive. Excitement was on overload as the relay was not far off being completed.
Created by Loo Johnson
With Thomas by their side the group made their final hand over and made their way through London and they reached the cenotaph at 4pm.
Bertie made it all the way around none stop!
There were cheers, tears and messages of pride, not just in London but all over the UK via the Teddy Bear Relay charity ride group.
What an amazing achievement for everyone. The amazing effort and dedication from all the relay riders and support riders, is immense every single rider made this dream become a reality.
Bertie and the relay riders visited over 40 beautiful remembrance memorials, gardens and cenotaphs paying respects to the fallen as one
Bertie was carried for 77 hours
covering a massive 1473 miles
whilst being carried by 36 different relay riders
alongside these riders there was also 20+ support riders helping him on his journey
The Teddy Bear Relay Ride, from the first idea, to being created and completed. Was done within a four month time frame and was a huge success in raising £3,000 for Help for Heroes.
After the ride Bertie was purchased by Arthur Morton who fell in love with him, he heard all about Bertie and the relay from his grandson who was taking part. Arthur has him at home with him where he has pride of place.
Thank you to all those that took part and supported,
Teddy Bear Relay Charity Ride 2014.
Written by Debi Lea Fielding