Three Reading Warrant Officers from the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers (REME) are attempting to ride to each of the Premier League football clubs to mark the end of the football season

WO1’s Mark Schorah, and Mick Cotton both 40 and WO2 Cliff Johnson, 39, started their 600 mile journey today at Newcastle’s St James’ Park and will finish at Tottenham Hotspur’s White Hart Lane on Sunday.

‘The Premier League Stadia Challenge 2011’ is being attempted to raise money for four charities: the Army (ABF) and REME Benevolent Funds, Disabled Football and Growing Places, a centre that cares for adults with learning disabilities close to their headquarters in Arborfield.

They will also be riding the seven day 55 hour bike ride in honour of their fallen comrade, Corporal Matthew Thomas, who was tragically killed in Afghanistan on 25th September 2010 when his vehicle struck a roadside bomb.

Speaking about the challenge, Mick who lives in Arborfield, Berkshire with his wife Julia and two children said: “We have all spent time on operations in Afghanistan, Bosnia, Iraq and Northern Ireland during our service careers and have been fortunate to return home safely each time.

"However many soldiers we know personally have not had the same good fortune, making the ultimate sacrifice or coming back injured. This will give us strength in the challenge, knowing that every turn of the pedal will make a difference to their lives.”

In his role as a REME Corps Welfare Warrant Officer, Cliff or ‘Johno’ to his colleagues, deals with all sick and injured army personnel as well as providing long term support and aftercare for bereaved families. He said: “I see on a daily basis the extra burden that is being placed on the charities and organisations that look after our forces and their families in their time of need. This is our way of putting something back in.”

Mark has played football for a number of years, playing for REME at representative level, before becoming their current manager. As an avid Middlesbrough supporter he is looking forward to the stadium tour. He commented: “All three of us are unanimous in which stadium we would most like to visit, White Hart Lane as that signals the end of the ride! But joking aside I hope we raise enough money to make a positive impact on those going through very difficult times. It’s the least they deserve.”

The riders set off from the entrance of St James’ Park, Newcastle at 9 o’clock on Monday 16th for a 106 mile journey to Skipton. Cheering them off was army supporter Robbie Jones, from Bowburn, County Durham. Four year old Robbie lost both his legs and the tips of his fingers on one hand after contracting meningitis when he was just 23 months old.

He has recently been made the North East mascot for ABF the Soldiers Charity and proudly stood to attention in his combat uniform with the three cyclists before they embarked on their grueling journey. Speaking at the launch, Robbie’s mum Jill said she couldn’t be prouder and hopes events like today raise awareness and funds for amputees across the UK.

There is a dedicated website for ‘The Premier League Stadia Challenge 2011’ that details the soldiers’ schedule and permits donations, visit for further information.