Four cyclists from Lancashire will embark on a 490-mile charity bike ride to commemorate the 70th anniversary of their grandfather’s death, thanks to a Preston business.

Volkswagen Van Centre Lancashire is providing the intrepid riders with their support vehicle as they put the wheels in motion to raise over £5,000 for Help for Heroes.

The mammoth challenge is to commemorate the 70th anniversary of Sergeant George Cribbin, from Preston, who tragically died on 8th June 1944 during a bombing mission over France, aged just 24, leaving behind a two year old boy and pregnant wife.

The ride will begin on 2nd June from the former Royal Airforce airfield at Breighton in East Riding of Yorkshire where Sergeant Cribbin began his mission, and will finish at Courances Cemetery, near Versailles, where he was laid to rest with five comrades.

Speaking of the ride Anthony Machin, grandson to Sergeant Cribbin, said: “I will be cycling with my two cousins, Andy Cribbin and Phil Cribbin plus a family friend, Rob Sneddon. We plan to complete the challenge in a week and will have to average 70 miles a day to achieve this goal.

“We can all ride a bike but have never done anything like this before so are frantically training and building up the miles in the saddle.

“We all come from Preston and much of our family still lives there so we were delighted when the Volkswagen Van Centre in Preston agreed to support us. The loan of a Crafter van is critical to our success as it will carry all of our support equipment, spare parts and a couple of bikes.

“This challenge is a family affair; we wanted to honour the 70th anniversary of my grandfather’s death and felt raising money for Help for Heroes would be a fitting tribute to our grandfather as conflicts around the world continue to affect returning service men and women and their families.”

Anthony’s uncle, who was two when his father died, will be driving the Volkswagen Crafter with other family and friends joining them en route. Further family members will meet them at the finish on June 8th at Courance Cemetery for a special remembrance ceremony.

Paul Hoinville, head of business at Volkswagen Van Centre Lancashire, said: “As the family has such deep roots in Preston we were more than willing to support their ride. It will certainly be tough but it’s such a noble challenge and we wish them the very best of luck.”

To support the riders’ donations can be made by visiting