TWO former soldiers from Wirral are back from a 15,000-mile motorcycle trek through 26 European Cities to raise cash for war veterans.
Pete Bray and Harry Glover, from 22 SAS and 4/73 Special OP Battery, set off on their 15,000 mile trip on August 1, outside Buckingham Palace.
The aim was to raise funds and awareness for three charities close to their hearts; BLESMA, Soldiers off the Streets and Alder Hey Children's Charity.
They have travelled through Paris, Brussels, Amsterdam, Berlin, Copenhagen, Stockholm, Helsinki, Tallinn, Riga, Vilnius, Warsaw, Prague, Vienna, Bratislava, Budapest, Bucharest, Athens, Madrid and Lisbon and returned to Birkenhead on Saturday.
During their arduous trek they battled all kinds of terrain, rainfall, storms and heatwaves, and potentially life-threatening mechanical failures.
Looking back on their incredible journey, Harry Glover said: "It's been an incredible three weeks on the road and I loved visiting places such as Bratislava in Slovakia but it’s been no holiday.
"We as good as slept rough for all but one night as the entire trek is self-funded and we’ve had to keep an eye on our bikes.
"We must thank everybody who helped us along the way, which includes strangers we met who helped service our bikes as well as family and friends."
As former servicemen, Harry and Pete know all too well the dangers that soldiers face both on the battlefield and when they return home.
However, Pete Bray – who is already a world record holder being the only person to Kayak the Atlantic unsupported - has taken on a whole new set of dangers, having only passed his motorcycle test in late 2013.
He said: "This road trip has taken its toll, in more ways than one. We were shocked by the number of toll roads throughout Europe and by the number of places that don’t use Euros as a currency.
"As we were travelling so long – up to 18 hours on some days – we barely had time to eat, so we have both lost quite a lot of weight too. We are feeling happy but a bit more tired than usual."
Their chosen charity BLESMA provides ex-soldiers with valuable help and support, giving them the tools needed to regain their independence following the loss of limbs.
Another, Soldiers off the Street provides food, shelter and other support for vulnerable soldiers of all ages who have returned from active duty and are in need of assistance in getting back on their feet.
The initiative has a personal note for Harry Glover, whose young daughter Elizabeth will undergo life-changing surgery in the autumn with the support of Alder Hey.