11 Nov Local female army veteran unites 25 women to raise money for charity with covid-safe cycle ride
With Remembrance day coming up this Wednesday, celebrations have unfortunately been curtailed by the Coronavirus pandemic.
Thankfully, Wendy Hooton, 65, has been thinking ‘outside the box’ and has organised a charity bike ride with a group of over 25 female veterans of the British Army!
Wendy Hooton – Veterans cycling to remember
As remembrance day approaches this year, Wendy Hooton, 65, from Bury St Edmunds in Suffolk, has impressed once again with her brilliant fundraising efforts for the WRAC Association – the only charity which specifically supports female veterans, including those who served in WW2.
After organising 2019’s “100 Women to Walk” fundraiser for charity’s centenary, she is now undertaking a ‘Covid-friendly’ cycle ride.
With remembrance parades cancelled and people being advised not to gather for memorial services, Wendy has organised a socially distanced way to honour and remember those who served their nation. This year, the group of over 25 female veterans will be cycling from their individual homes and visiting war memorials along the way to pay their respects. The ladies will be sharing pictures of their journey on Facebook for the public to see and support. Incredibly, the initiative has already surpassed their £1,000 target, raising £1322.22 so far.
With her father in the RAF, Wendy joined the army in 1972 where she served for 18 years in the Women’s Royal Army Corps as a signalling officer, being stationed in Cyprus, Australia, Hong-Kong and Germany, as well as Britain. She later married a solider in 1985, and left the army in 1990 at the same time as her husband.
Following army life, Wendy and her husband decided to take on a pub for 9 years, citing herself as a “bossy landlady!” Although a dramatic change from her army career, Wendy felt at ease adjusting back to civilian life, and she still maintains her friendships made across the world with other WRAC women.
As a keen walker, Wendy choses a different location each year to host the annual “100 Women to Walk” fundraiser, and already has over 100 people signed up for this year, taking place in Yorkshire. Starting with just 7 people in 2013, the numbers have increased each year, and the level of support continues to grow. Wendy has raised the profile of the annual walks by promoting them via the WRAC Association’s magazine, Lioness, and on her Facebook WRAC Association Fundraising page.
The participants this year are raising funds for the W.R.A.C Association, whose aim is fostering ‘esprit de corps’, comradeship and welfare whilst preserving the traditions of the QMAAC, A.T.S. and W.R.A.C. It also aims to help women falling on hard times via benevolence grants. (£300,000 was donated in 2019).
Wendy says, “The WRAC has done so much for me, and the friendships I have made will last a lifetime. We are aiming to raise money for the WRAC Association so it can continue to help those in need”.