Sheffield City Council’s Deputy Lord Mayor, Magid Magid and members of Meadowhall’s management team took part in a cycle challenge to begin a fundraising journey to improve the the Sheffield War memorial located at what was the British front line in the Somme battlefield.
The collaboration between Sheffield City Council and Meadowhall saw two stationary bikes set up in-centre from 10am to 5:30pm for members of the management team, and Councillor Magid Magid to collectively tackle a virtual journey to the Somme battlefield, spanning 400 miles.
This stationary cycle is the pre-curser to a fundraising cycle ride from Sheffield to the Sheffield Memorial Park, at Serre, in the Somme Northern France which will take place over 4 days in June in a bid to raise over £20,000 for the memorial dedicated to the fallen Sheffield Pals regiment. All further proceeds raised will be split towards Yorkshire Air Ambulance and The Royal British Legion.
The men remembered in Sheffield Memorial Park were from the Sheffield area who were part of the British Army’s 31st Division of who’s 12 Pals Battalions, all but 2 came from Yorkshire.
Darren Pearce, Centre Director at Meadowhall and part of the Centre’s fundraising cycling team for the event commented: “As a Centre we are always very proud to support and honour our service personnel, but with 2018 marking the 100th year anniversary of the end of World War One we wanted to go the extra mile – quite literally.
“We’re delighted to join Sheffield City Council and other key city partners and sponsors to be part of Sheffield’s Cycle challenge and hope to raise as much funds as possible for the much-needed work at the memorial.”
The Pals Battalions were formed in the autumn of 1914 following the recruitment drive by the War Office, and within a matter of days several battalions were at their maximum strength of 800-900 men each. The Sheffield City battalion was recruited from Sheffield, and chiefly made up of men from the city.
The Pals Battalions spent up to 18 months in training before arriving in northern France in the spring of 1916 where they began to prepare to take part in the Battle of the Somme. The casualties of the Pals Battalions who went into action on 1st July were some of the heaviest recorded, with thousands reported missing, wounded or killed. By the end of the Battle of the Somme over 90% of the Sheffield PALS were dead.
Councillor Magid Magid, Deputy Lord Mayor of Sheffield City Council said: “We are really excited about doing this challenge in partnership with Meadowhall and for such a great cause.
“It’s important that future generations do not forget the sacrifice that so many local men made during the First World War, and we’re proud to do what we can in remembrance.”