Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 19 April 2014

Clarkson backs bike fundraiser

Corporal Josh Boggi, Jeremy Clarkson and Staff Sergeant Steve Arnold at Tedworth House to support Hero Ride (Roger Kelly/PA)

Jeremy Clarkson put aside his aversion to bicycles as he lent his support to the latest Help for Heroes fundraiser.

The controversial TV presenter and newspaper columnist, who once described cycles as "silly Victorian distractions" and is known for his low opinion of their users, got to grips with a handbike and even encouraged people to hit the road on their bikes to back the event.

Clarkson was visiting the Tedworth House recovery centre, in Tidworth, Wiltshire, to meet troops affected by life-changing injuries and to lend his support to the charity's latest initiative.

He met triple amputee Corporal Josh Boggi and double amputee Staff Sergeant Steve Arnold, who are both taking part in Hero Ride.

Clarkson, who is patron of Help for Heroes, climbed into a handbike and as he tried to turn the hand cranks, he told the two servicemen: "Do you know what's happened? It's really embarrassing... my stomach is so big... I can't actually... look."

Cpl Boggi and Staff Sgt Arnold explained to Clarkson how the hand cranks worked, and he replied: "Not if you're fat."

Clarkson got to grips with the handbike and as he rode around the gardens at Tedworth House, he discussed the forthcoming Hero Ride with Staff Sgt Arnold.

He jokingly told the soldier: "To be honest with you, the lack of legs makes it easier." Later, he added: "You can't do it with legs, they are just badly designed."

Hero Ride takes place on June 2 and will see cyclists from all corners of the country stage fundraising bike rides. There will also be a mass meet in Blackheath when cyclists will ride together into central London to The Mall in support of wounded service personnel.

Organisers are hoping to raise more than £2 million for Help for Heroes.

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