A Jesuit priest who served in the Royal Green Jackets (now The Rifles) before entering the Society of Jesus will be joining the Help for Heroes Battlefield Bike Ride at the end of this month as its cycling chaplain.
Father Roger Dawson SJ is currently Assistant Catholic Chaplain to the University of Oxford and was an Army Officer for nine years. He will be among more than 300 riders cycling from Normandy to Dunkirk between May 24 and 31. On the route, he will lead some of the wreath-laying services and prayers at the 1st and 2nd World War battlefield memorials in Northern France. Among the riders will be several wounded servicemen.
Help for Heroes (H4H) was founded nearly three years ago by Bryn and Emma Parry, two old friends of Roger; Bryn and Roger served together in the Green Jackets. Its aim is to care for wounded servicemen and women returning from Afghanistan and Iraq. Their work has captured the public imagination and has been phenomenally successful: last week they hit the £50 million mark and the money is still coming in. On 4 June the swimming pool funded by H4H will open at the services' rehabilitation centre at Headley Court.
Fr Roger said: "I have known servicemen and women who have been injured in the line of duty while serving their country. Their lives are changed forever and, whatever we think of the war, we have a responsibility to make sure these young men and women are cared for. Help for Heroes does just what is says."
Fr Roger Dawson SJ - nicknamed the 'pedalling padre' - needs to raise £2200 as his part in the Help for Heroes Battlefield Bike Ride. You can sponsor him online at: www.bmycharity.com/peddlingpadre .