(VNF) - In order to raise money for veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and other injuries, a former Special Air Service Regiment soldier who lost a leg saving a fellow parachutist will leave on a 10,000km bike ride from Hanoi to Sydney.
Laurie ‘Truck’ Sams, 67, who served with the SAS in Vietnam before losing his left leg in a parachute accident, will take six months to complete the epic ride through Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore and across Australia.
Mr Sams leaves the Australian Embassy in Hanoi on May 12th, carrying an Australian flag he plans to present to the Australian War Memorial at 11am on November 11th to mark Remembrance Day 2016 before cycling on to Sydney and a welcome on the steps of Sydney Opera House on November 20th.
A world champion parachutist, Mr Sams was awarded the Star of Courage for the parachute incident in 1995. After learning to walk with a prosthetic leg he led two trekking expeditions along the 315km Thai section of the notorious Thai Burma Railway and has completed a series of charity bike rides around Asia.
He said he set his sights on “the big ride” to Australia as a friendship initiative between Australia and Asia and to support injured veterans.
“I’m blown away at the number of vets suffering from PTSD and other injuries, not just from Vietnam but all the conflicts we have been involved in before and since. My dad Bill was a prisoner on the Thai-Burma railway in the World War 2 and I lost mates in Vietnam. Many other mates are still suffering terribly, and I want to use the ride to raise money for their treatment and really shine a spotlight on their problems”, he said.
The ride will pass through the paddy fields and dense jungle of Vietnam to Ho Chi Minh city before striking west through Cambodia and Thailand and skirting the Gulf of Thailand south to Malaysia and Singapore, where the team will catch a flight to Perth arriving August 31st for the arduous trans-Nullarbor to Adelaide then on to Melbourne, Canberra and Sydney./.
( VNF )