In September 2020, a dedicated team of bike riders, along with a small support team, will be riding from RNAS Yeovilton to RNAS Culdrose and back – a round trip of approximately 360 miles over demanding, hilly terrain. They will be doing this in support of, and to raise money for, the White Ensign Association. The idea was first mooted by former Royal Navy Sailor Matt Sellick, who is planning and who will lead, the bike ride. This is his story:
There are two parts to this story - me and my journey and the one about the amazing work The White Ensign Association (WEA) does.
I joined the Navy in 1997 and had a fantastic career, leaving in 2008. My resettlement was poor however, no social networks like Facebook or LinkedIn to get advice, connect with people who can help and I ended up in low level civilian level roles back home putting all my transferable skills to waste. I could also have done with some good advice on my pension and gratuity, which would have made a big difference to what I received….. if only there was a charity which someone could point me towards who could have helped...
All that aside my motivation for this ride came from a random Health MOT that my current employer, Morson, conducted where I found out my blood pressure was 187/117. I had high cholesterol and after blood tests found out my kidneys and liver where in bad shape - 38 years old and at very high risk of a stroke or heart attack. I had to change my diet and start some form of physical exercise. I had never ridden more than 5 miles and not regularly or for a very long time. I sit at a desk all day, don't do sport and it takes 5 minutes to walk to work...something had to change. Tony, my Director, does a lot of cycling and goes on various charity cycles and mentioned he was thinking of organising a ride from RNAS Yeovilton to RNAS Culdrose, and joked in the office it would be good motivation for me to go on the ride or at least do some training for it. I jokingly said why not and it escalated very quickly from there and there was no turning back...it also all of a sudden turned into a RETURN TRIP!!! Yeovilton to Culdrose and back, too late Sellick you are in deep! So 5 weeks ago I bought my first ever road bike, curly wurly (sure there is a technical name) handle bars and special shoes I need to clip to the peddles! Currently going out once or twice a week averaging just over 22 miles, although my first crash 2 weeks ago has hindered recent progress - but it is a start.
So why am I doing it?
As I was now taking part I was asked to choose a relevant Royal Navy Charity and the first charity that came to mind was of course was The White Ensign Association. They inform and provide guidance to all serving and former members of the Royal Navy, Royal Marines, their Reserves and also to their families. They are unbiased, confidential and offer a free advice service.
The White Ensign Association is a registered charity founded jointly by the Royal Navy and the City of London in 1958.
The Association was set up to provide a financial advisory service of the highest calibre for all serving and retired personnel of the Royal Navy, the Royal Marines, the Queen Alexandra’s Naval Nursing Service, the former Women’s Royal Naval Service, their respective Reserves and families. Over the years the role has developed and expanded to include the provision of assistance in resettlement and Employment in civilian life. The Association is now firmly established as one of the prime links between the Royal Navy, the City, Commerce and Industry.
Today The White Ensign Association offers one to one guidance and referrals in all matters of personal finance, 2nd careers, business start-up, personal administration and any general welfare issue. If we cannot help you we will ensure that the White Ensign Association puts you in touch with an organisation that can.
A MASSIVELY underrated charity which regularly gets forgotten.
My target is very high and any money raised for this amazing charity is fantastic, but with the right networking and help in the right areas I am sure we can get as close to this as possible if not surpass it!
Matt’s training is progressing very well and his extended rides have now included Yeovil to West Bay and back (50 Miles), and Yeovil to Burham-On-Sea and back (80 Miles).
We would be delighted if all our readers would help to support Matt in his efforts and donate some money towards this very worthy cause. To find out more, please click on the link below:
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