A FORMER RAF Squadron Leader from Monmouthshire was among 52 cyclists who cycled triumphantly onto The Mall on Saturday at the end of a Paris to London fundraising bike ride.

Pete Thompson, St Arvans, has raised more than £1,000 for the RAF Benevolent Fund during the four-day challenge.

The group had cycled from Paris to London to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the Battle of Britain and to raise funds for the RAF Benevolent Fund, the RAF’s leading welfare charity.

The 221-mile journey was completed on Brompton bicycles, which like the Spitfire and Hurricane fighter planes 75 years ago, are icons of British engineering.

Pete, 48, who also works at the RAF Benevolent Fund, signed up to the ride to support the work the charity does providing assistance to the RAF Family.

Mr Thompson said: “It was a fantastic experience. I was quite sad it came to an end. Cycling down The Mall was a real experience, seeing the crowds waving to us.

“The UK was harder than France, round the Surrey area, because of the hills.

“I would definitely love to do another challenge like this."

The riders were a mixture of RAF personnel and civilians, brought together by the common goal of raising more than £50,000 for the charity.

Paul Hewson, Regional Director for the RAF Benevolent Fund, said: “I would like to thank each and every rider who rose to the challenge of raising £1,000 for the RAF Benevolent Fund and cycled for four days. The dedication, good humour and camaraderie of the team carried them the 221 miles from Paris to London.

“Without fundraisers like these the RAF Benevolent Fund would not be able to support the RAF family, serving and retired personnel, in the many ways that we do."

The ride was timed to coincide with the national commemoration of the Battle of Britain, which takes place at Westminster Abbey on Sunday.

It was supported by specialist cycling tour providers Ride25 who worked with the RAF Benevolent Fund to provide everything the riders needed.

You can still sponsor Mr Thompson at www.justgiving.com/petebromptonchallenge