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Annual mass motorbike gathering goes virtual due to virus
Thousands of motorcyclists from all over the country have been beaten by the coronavirus pandemic, but the annual Ride To The Wall event, which culminates in a mass gathering at the National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire, is still going ahead in name only. Ride To The Wall 2020 is having to take place as a virtual event due to social distancing measures brought in to try to halt the spread of Covid-19. Thousands of two-wheeled machines of all descriptions had been due to congregate at the Arboretum, at Alrewas, near Lichfield, on October 3rd. As in previous years, they would have gathered at pre-designated meeting places, primarily at strategic motorway service stations, before riding in organised, official convoys to the Arboretum site where a memorial service would have taken place. But, despite the virus restrictions, which include the 'rule of six' ban on people from separate households meeting up, RTTW 2020 is still taking place, but with donations being sought instead between 9am and 5pm on October 3. The suggested voluntary donation is £10, but people can give more, or less, depending on their circumstances. Money for the charitable cause can also be raised by purchasing RTTW merchandise, with further details to be found on the official website at www.rttw.org
The Armed Forces Memorial at the National Memorial Arboretum
Martin Dickinson, the founder of Ride to the Wall, said: "It is with a great deal of sadness that Ride to the Wall, in its current format, will not be taking place this year. The decision was not taken lightly and after 12 successful years, having the elements thrown at us on numerous occasions, and at the same time running a smooth event year on year, this year, our 13th we have been beaten by an alien force, something of which we have never experienced before. As well as our remembrance service you raise a massive amount towards the upkeep of the NMA. Nothing more so than last year when we once again presented a record amount. My priority as founder of Ride to the Wall is your safety first and foremost as Wallers, and also not putting you or the general public at unnecessary risk. I am hopeful that through your support we will come back stronger next year and 2021 will once again be a massive year in the history of RTTW."
The Arboretum grounds would normally be packed with motorbikes
The National Memorial Arboretum said in a statement that they were in "unprecedented times" which made planning for large scale events extremely difficult. "Even with the best social distancing practices and procedures, extra cleaning regimes and reduced numbers, Ride to the Wall cannot take place in a physical form in 2020. Whilst we cannot congregate at the Arboretum this year, we will be holding a virtual event and we ask as many of you as possible to join us. We will still raise the much-needed funds for the Arboretum."