Stevenage artist’s 186-mile charity cycle ride home in brother’s memory
- Credit: Archant
An artist from Stevenage is to cycle 186 miles home from an air base in Wales to mark 40 years since her brother’s death.
Anji Archer’s brother Andrew died in 1978 at the age of 18, while stationed at RAF St Athan in south Wales as an engineer. A keen cyclist, he once pedalled home to Stevenage in a single day.
Five months later, while off duty and travelling back to the base on his bike, he never returned and was later found dead on a beach nearby.
This weekend Anji will complete the same journey over two days, with her close friend Judy Kinnear cycling at her side. Judy’s husband John will provide back-up support from his car.
Anji told the Comet: “This ride is going to be an emotional journey. To retrace my brother’s route will take me to places where he would have been.
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“You never forget a person who has been taken too soon and too young. I hope I do him proud.”
The ride is to raise money for road safety charity Brake, for which Anji has been a volunteer for the past six years – supporting police family liaison officers with their training when they have to give news to families about a road injury or death.
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Anji’s partner Shaun Henderson, an artist originally from Edinburgh, was killed in 2007 when a drunk van driver hit his scooter in Stevenage’s Six Hills Way. He was just 43.
“My life was changed when I was given the news about Shaun’s death,” said Anji. “He left behind his four children, two of whom were under two years old.”
Anji will be riding a road bike that belonged to her late father, who met her mother in the late 1950s when they were both cycling club members in south London.
She and Judy will take a route similar to the one Andrew would have used when he rode home all those years ago – cycling back while on leave because he had no money for transport.
They have so far raised £310 for Brake, and will be leaving St Athan on Saturday morning ahead of a planned return to Stevenage on Sunday.
Anji said: “I am really lucky to have two incredible, kind people with me – Judy and John Kinnear. I would not be doing this journey if it wasn’t for their support.
“Training with Judy has been incredible. She is such an amazing and supportive friend. I have also had lovely comments and backing from family and friends.”
If you’d like to support Anji’s fundraising, see justgiving.com/fundraising/anji-archer.