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Roar of respect: 15,000 bikers ride through Wootton Bassett to honour troops serving in Afghanistan

By Daily Mail Reporter
Last updated at 9:22 AM on 15th March 2010

Around 15,000 bikers roared through Wootton Bassett today to honour troops serving in Afghanistan.

Spectators lined the streets as the riders made their way through the market town that has come to represent the nation in paying respect to fallen soldiers as they are repatriated back to the UK.

Mourners line the high street insilence for each funeral cortege that passes through the town on itsway from RAF Lyneham to the coroner in Oxford.

Roar of respect: around 15,000 bikers rode through Wootton Bassett today to show their support for the armed forces serving in Afghanistan

Poignant: The parade was organised through social networking site Facebook

Today’s crowds gathered along the High Street to hear the roar of over 10,000 motor bikers with about 5,000 pillion passengers pass the war memorial on route.

The ride, believed to the biggest of its kind, has raised more than 100,000 so far for the charity Afghan Heroes.

Wootton Bassett Mayor Steve Bucknell said: ‘The vast majority of the people of the town fully support what the bikers are doing today.

‘Too many times the town has had to stand still in silence but today is all about noise and movement.’

Preparation: The bikers get ready to start the ride from Hullavington Airfield in Wiltshire

Fundraising: The event has raised more than 100,000 for the Afghan Heroes charity

The event was the idea of teenage biker Elizabeth Stevens.

The 18-year-old mechanics student had only planned to ride through the town with a few friends but her idea quickly gained momentum.

‘Our local bike club was throwing around the idea of a bike run,’ she said. ‘So I decided to make a Facebook page, and it’s just taken off.’

Misss Stevens was today riding pillion on her partner’s Harley-Davidson Sportster.

Laurence Phillips from the charity Afghan Heroes said: ‘It’s quite a staggering spectacle and an unbelievable show of support for the troops in Afghanistan and a mark of respect for the town of Wootton Bassett.

‘I would imagine it is the biggest bike ride of its kind.

‘The bikes have been coming in since 8am this morning.’

Dressed for the occasion: A pillion passenger dons fancy dress for the charity ride

Ruff ride: A border terrier hitches a lift in his master’s bag

The bikers set off from Hullavington Airfield, Wiltshire in waves of 500 to Wootton Bassett via the M4.

The police, Ministry of Defence and local authorities joined forces to make sure it passed smoothly.

Opera singer Tim Pitman performed Fields of Green, a song written for Afghan Heroes.

Each biker paid 5 to take part, with some raising more including one biker who handed over 750.

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Roar of respect: 15,000 bikers ride through Wootton Bassett to honour troops serving in Afghanistan