Submariners complete gruelling 274 mile charity ride

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FIVE submariners from HMS Vengeance have completed a gruelling 274 mile cycle ride from Plymouth to Bury St Edmunds - suffering a break-in and theft along the way.

Commanding Officer Paul Blythe, Second in Command Scott Johnson, Lieutenant Chris Mather, Leading Hand Neil Pilkington and Lieutenant Jamie Heathcote embarked on the mammoth ride on Monday from Plymouth where their submarine is ongoing a three year refit.

But on Tuesday, at Shepton Mallet, the seamen discovered one of their support vehicles had been broken into and two mobile phones and wallets from the crew had been taken.

The five men were also hit by terrible weather conditions on their journey, facing heavy rain, hail and strong winds.

Commanding Officer Paul Blythe said it was an exhausting ride.

He said: “The hardest bit of the trip was going over Dartmoor on Monday, we did 76 miles that day.

“It is 1500 ft high there and when we reached Exeter, which is at sea level, we had to climb our way out again.

“On Tuesday we cycled all morning to make it to Shepton Mallet and stopped for lunch in the pub.

“But while we were there someone smashed into my car and stole my mobile phone and our wallets.

“We left Shepton Mallet late because we had to file a police report.

“The weather has been awful, we have had rain, hail, wind.

“At the pubs we stopped in for lunch we used their tumble dryers to dry our clothes out but as soon as we got back on the road the heavens would open.

“It has been brilliant weather today though - it felt great riding in knowing it was finished.

“My bum, my legs, my calves - they all hurt.”

The five men were cycling in aid of the Royal Navy and Royal Marines charity and expect to raise around £1,500.

Members of the HMS Vengeance crew have also been taking part in community projects all over Bury St Edmunds this week.

For more see Friday’s Bury Free Press