96-year-old D Day veteran Len Gibbon re-creates his journey to the beaches of Normandy on a static bike

96-year-old D Day veteran Len Gibbon cycles 104 miles on a static bike Credit: ITV News Meridian

Three months ago, we began our search for the ITV Meridian Fundraiser of the Year, as part of the Daily Mirror Pride of Britain Awards, and while there can't be an awards ceremony this year, we couldn't let the year pass without celebrating those local heroes.

All this week, we'll tell you about our region's four finalists and on Friday, we'll be crowning one of them as the Meridian winner.

Len Gibbon

Seventy-six years on from D-Day, Len decided to re-create his journey to the beaches of Normandy to raise money for the home in Sussex where he now lives. 

  • Report by ITV News Meridian's Malcolm Shaw:

It was codenamed Operation Overlord. Over 150,000 Allied troops landing on the coast of Normandy to defeat the Germans. Among the soldiers, 20-year-old Len Gibbon, who crossed the Channel from Portsmouth to Gold Beach.  

Now aged 96, Len Gibbon decided to turn back the pages of history and recreate his journey to France. 

This time, on a static bike and a total of 104 miles. 

Staff at the home in Worthing where he now lives, monitored his progress throughout.

  • Emma Curtis- Lead Physiotherapist:

Care for Veterans has been looking after disabled ex-Service personnel since the First World War. 

Care for Veterans in the First World War

The charity has to fundraise continuously. Len Gibbon's sponsored bike ride brought in more than £10,000.

It's been very difficult financially with a number of events being cancelled, so for our residents, like Len, to come forward and take on a challenge and raise awareness of the organisation and to raise funds to keep our service running for the long term was really heartwarming.

James Bacharew- Head of Fundraising & Marketing

Len completed his challenge on June 6, the 76th anniversary of D-Day.  

Len completed his challenge on the 76th anniversary of D-Day.

It was Christine Gillott who decided to nominate him for the Pride of Britain Awards.

I don't think he thinks it's a big challenge but for 104 miles cycling at his age, I think it's a huge challenge. He's very modest about what he did in the war; he's seen some horrific things and he just glosses over that and makes a good joke about it.

Christine Gillott- Senior Fundraiser

Len Gibbon is modest about the part he played in securing the freedom we all enjoy, but his remarkable cycle ride underlines how far he's still prepared to go to help others.