Steve Craddock, 63, has raised over £500,000 for Help for Heroes. Read on …
With event after event being cancelled in 2020 due to Covid, many people put their ideas for charity fundraisers on hold last year which is why charities have seen an unprecedented drop in their funds. However, Steve Craddock, a former sergeant in the Royal Engineers, has never been anything other than determined to help other wounded veterans.
Help for Heroes
So, despite last year’s setbacks, he managed to put on a Covid-safe fundraising bike ride at the end of the summer, cycling 420 miles from Rochester, Kent, to the National Memorial Aroboretum in Staffordshire, laying wreaths at war memorials along the way. The sponsorship money kept coming in following the event, finally enabling him this month to reach his staggering fundraising target of £500,000 for military charity, Help for Heroes.
BBBR – Big Battlefield Bike Ride
For Steve, cycling and fundraising have played a big part in his recovery. Diagnosed with PTSD in 2007 after years of struggling with his mental health helped him.. A turning point for him was when he took part in Help for Heroes’ Big Battlefield Bike Ride (BBBR), an annual fundraiser when fundraisers and wounded veterans ride side-by-side across some of Northern Europe’s most famous battlefields, enjoying history and camaraderie along the way.
While he found it extremely tough, he loved the way cycling felt. Plus, the words of one of the other veterans on the BBBR, “I was in a dark place and Help for Heroes shone a light,” resonated with him. He decided that rather than feeling sorry for himself, he wanted to do something positive that could help him and other wounded veterans. So began his 12-year fundraising journey and his love for cycling which sees him cycling most days and clocking up thousands of miles every year.
Many Fundraising Events
He has put on over 60 different fundraising events including many sponsored bike rides in the UK and Europe and further afield including Burma and Zambia. He has also put on curry lunches, a football match between the Royal Engineers and a Chelsea select XI, four concerts, a burlesque night and also his own annual cycling 50 mile sportive for veterans, Cycle4Heroes, which he set up in 2016 as a way to encourage other wounded veterans to find the same physical and mental benefits of cycling as he has.
About his incredible achievement, Steve says, “I’ve finally got the monkey off my back and reached my target. Trying to fundraise in a pandemic is hard and it feels like it took forever to reach the last £11,000, but I’m so glad I persevered as it’s a great way to start 2021. I have seen first-hand the great work that Help for Heroes does and know guys and gals who were in bits 12 years ago – but they’ve come so far. Help for Heroes has given them the strength they need to live the lives they deserve.
“I’ve got so much back personally from being able to raise this money; I am definitely a better person. And if I’ve been able to make a difference to a few people’s lives and perhaps inspired some people to do their own fundraising, then that’s enough for me. Covid may still be making it less easy to raise funds for charity, but they need money more than ever. By getting creative and making up your own challenge you can add real purpose to your life and find a way to spiral up, rather than down.”
Help for Heroes’ CEO, Mel Waters, comments, “I’m over the moon that Steve has reached his goal of £500,000 in support of Help for Heroes. His dedication to the charity is unwavering and we’re incredibly grateful for his ongoing energy and passion which comes straight from the heart. Steve is both remarkable and inspiring. We can’t thank him and his supporters enough. His fundraising is making a lasting difference to the lives of wounded veterans and their families at a time when they need it most.
No One Left Behind
Despite having reached his target, super-fundraiser Steve has vowed to continue fundraising for Help for Heroes, planning to do a charity ride in Sri Lanka in May and in Vietnam and Cambodia in October, as well as doing the next BBBR ride. He also hopes that he’ll be able to hold his Cycle4Heroes sportive later this year and to continue with his own cycling group, called ‘No One Left Behind’, which encourages veterans of all sexes to join with other likeminded people, get out on their bikes and know that the ride will always be at the speed of the slowest person.
Steve, who is also know as ‘Geordie Steve’ as he originally comes from Newcastle, concludes, “It’s been a great 12 years which have changed my life and I’m so lucky to have had the support of my cracking wife, Beverley, who has put up with my obsession! Thanks to her I’ve been able to do my thing, meet incredible people, and even had the chance to chat to Prince William. It goes to show that with the right people around you and a positive mind set, you can achieve your goals.”
Fundraising for Help for Heroes
To support Steve’s continued fundraising efforts for Help for Heroes go to his fundraising page: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/cycle2recovery.