Firstly, we would like to say a massive personal thanks on behalf of the charity for all the money the bikers have raised, combining the Mother’s Day rides alone you will have raised a fantastic £237,000.
You may also like to know that your fundraising activities have funded the 2010 and 2011 box packing initiative, which has always been our stated primary mission. The scheme was so well received by the boy’s and girl’s that the MoD requested that the initiative be extended to encompass Afghanistan and Iraq. This equates to a total of 24,000 parcels of home comfort!
We would like to take this opportunity to reiterate why the charity was formed, which was summarised by a comment on our Facebook page yesterday evening. This charity was launched by mothers of fallen soldiers, and created to support our serving forces in theatre, the families of the fallen and our returning wounded. The charity is not about one single person it is about making a difference to our joint armed forces, a point of fact that has been recognised at the highest level of government.
Over the last 48 hours there has been much speculation regarding our position towards Ride of Respect – we hope that we will be able to clear things up by posting this announcement.
Firstly, it is important for us to acknowledge the overwhelming support that we have received from the biking community over the last fourteen months. It has been truly humbling to witness such a show of selfless solidarity with our troops. This support cannot and will never go unappreciated.
We also acknowledge the huge efforts that so many people have made to help make both this and last year’s rides the successes they were. This includes, among many others, the entire Ride of Respect team. Without these individuals we would not have been able to raise such staggering amounts for our troops, their families and loved ones.
Whilst recognising the above efforts, we would like to explain our rationale behind requesting that our name and logo be removed from the Ride of Respect web site. This was not a decision which we arrived at lightly.
As a registered charity, we must ensure that we fulfill all of our legal obligations and duties. We are very conscious that this year we have received an ever increasing number of complaints regarding the use of the money raised from Ride of Respect merchandise sales. We have always directed such queries to the “Ride Of Respect” as they have been obliged to handle such queries. In response to those queries, Ride of Respect have informed us that either, items were being sold at cost price and therefore there was no money raised or that any money raised would pay for the Ride of Respect’s various expenses. Unfortunately, this does not appear to have happened as is evident from our financial breakdown.
We have also been made aware in more recent times that money was being retained by the Ride of Respect in order to fund future projects.
Our very serious concern is that the Ride of Respect website itself uses phrases such as “ALL proceeds to Afghan Heroes”. We believe that phrases such as these are misleading as they might cause supporters to buy merchandise thinking that all of the proceeds are bound for Afghan Heroes, which is not the case.
As a charity, we must be very clear when raising funds from the public. In light of the above, we must insist that the boundaries between the Charity and Ride of Respect are clear and for this reason we have requested that our name and logo be removed from the Ride of Respect website.
We believe that everyone concerned with these endeavours only has the well-being and safety of our troops at heart, please, let’s all make this our primary focus. As such, this will be our final communication on this matter.