Mayor of Cambridge is leader of the armed forces pack

PUBLISHED: 08:55 14 July 2018 | UPDATED: 18:18 14 July 2018

The mayor of Cambridge, Councillor Nigel Gawthorpe, leads the Royal British Legion Riders Branch on the AMRR (UK). Picture: Keith Heppell

The mayor of Cambridge, Councillor Nigel Gawthorpe, leads the Royal British Legion Riders Branch on the AMRR (UK). Picture: Keith Heppell

Iliffe Media Ltd

Astride his Harley Davidson, Cambridge mayor Nigel Gawthrope led the pack of more than 350 bikers who took part in the Allied Memorial Remembrance Ride.

The Royal British Legion Riders Branch on the AMRR (UK). Picture: Keith HeppellThe Royal British Legion Riders Branch on the AMRR (UK). Picture: Keith Heppell

The ride took place last weekend. At the same time last year, Nigel did not even have a bike to ride.

“It was my 60th birthday present to myself,” he told the Cambridge Independent. “It was the first time I’ve done the ride and it was great to lead it.

“When you lead you don’t quite see the magnitude of it all, but as we crossed the Huntingdon Road bridge I got to look back at everyone and it looked fantastic, it was really spectacular.

“Most of the riders were ex-servicemen, as you can see by all the patches on their leathers, as well as civilians. It’s a powerful show of respect and it was a great feeling to ride with everyone as part of a big pack.”

The Royal British Legion Riders Branch on the AMRR (UK). Picture: Keith HeppellThe Royal British Legion Riders Branch on the AMRR (UK). Picture: Keith Heppell

He said there were more than 320 bikes in the procession.

The mayor gave a speech on arrival at the American War Memorial in Madingley. He said he wanted to focus on the humanitarian efforts of the country’s armed forces.

He said: “It is important that we not only remember our fallen heroes in this, the centenary of the First World War Armistice, but it’s also the recognition of our servicemen and women and what they do for us in the modern day, the ongoing conflicts our servicemen and women are involved in for the peace of the world and the benefit of us all.

“Nothing is more important than the responsibility of each state to protect their populations from genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity and ethnic cleansing, and the responsibility of the international community to act for the sake of humanity if a state is unwilling or unable to do so, as we have in Kosovo, Sierra Leone, Bosnia, Rwanda and the Sudan. And I say to any of our servicemen present here today, we must do more to ensure that our duty to you matches your service to us.”

The Royal British Legion Riders Branch on the AMRR (UK). Picture: Keith HeppellThe Royal British Legion Riders Branch on the AMRR (UK). Picture: Keith Heppell

He also thanked the police for their assistance on the day.

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