Brightons man cycling to the Somme for centenary

Former soldier Evan Finnegan who is cycling to the Somme for the 100th anniversary of the battle

Former soldier Evan Finnegan who is cycling to the Somme for the 100th anniversary of the battle

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A former soldier who did tours of Iraq and Northern Ireland is to cycle to the Somme for the 100th anniversary of the famous battle.

Evan Finnegan (36), from Brightons, will cycle around 900 miles to a cemetery in Maricourt, northern France as a tribute to the soldiers who died during the Battle of the Somme in 1916 during the First World War.

Evan, who served with the Kings Own Scottish Borderers (KOSB) from 1997-2004 as a machine gun commander, will leave from the KOSB plaque in Edinburgh to France in a journey he hopes to complete in two weeks.

The father-of-three will arrive at the graveside of soldier James Farr from Dudley on July 9, 2016 – 100 years after he was killed during the battle – and will follow in his footsteps as he cycles through Britain raising money for Poppy Scotland.

Evan, who now works for Scottish Water as a risk technician, said: “I will be taking in points of interest to Private Farr, the routes and places he might have travelled on his way to the front line.

“I’m doing a lot of training at the moment as it will be a big effort cycling to France, but it I want to pay tribute to those who died during the Battle of the Somme and raise money for Poppy Scotland.”

Evan is also a piper who played for his regiment and has performed at memorials for the Somme and at the Menin Gate during Armistice Day services.

He is also currently recording a single, The Battle of the Somme, which was written after the battle took place, in his friend’s studio and hopes to release it and raise more money for the charity which supports ex-servicemen and women.

Evan has created a blog – thebattlefieldpiper.com – to record his fundraising efforts where donations can be made.