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Soldier's fiancee is helping our heroes

PUBLISHED: 12:25 26 February 2010 | UPDATED: 16:52 30 June 2010

THE fiancée of a soldier due to return to Afghanistan, is saddling up for a 350-mile battlefield bike ride across terrain over which some of the most famous campaigns of the second world war were fought.

THE fiancée of a soldier due to return to Afghanistan, is saddling up for a 350-mile battlefield bike ride across terrain over which some of the most famous campaigns of the second world war were fought.

Prison guard Samantha Boggis, 21, hopes to generate money for the Help the Heroes charity and says she was inspired by her partner's unruffled stoicism in the face of terror.

Lance Bombardier with 7 Para, Matthew Jeffries, also 21, is set to return to duty in October, triggering more anxiety and a near obsession for TV news for his

proud family left behind at home.

She said: “He talked so casually about things that were terrifying - like how once he looked around a corner and a rocket flew past his face - it just seemed normal to him.”

“This is such a massive challenge for me but what I like about it is that it is an act of remembrance for those in past wars and a way of supporting those fighting in the present.”

The pair, who live together in Bradwell, met at Oriel High School six years ago and have been engaged for two years.

Last year they made their own pilgrimage to Normandy to honour the wartime dead.

On foot patrols nearly every day, Matthew is trained to call in the artillery when the troops come under attack. Once, he encountered Taliban fire from just 50 yards when chest-deep in water.

Though the bike ride is something that Samantha admits she is worried about, it is the kind of dedication to a cause shown by her fianceé that is driving her to overcome her unsteadiness on a bike. She said: “At the moment I'm cycling 10-15 miles a week and I'm avoiding roads with cars, traffic lights or roundabouts because they all terrify me.

“But I know that seven days of intense cycling is nothing compared to six months of life-threatening challenges, and it's something I can definitely achieve.”

She is one of 300 people taking part in the cycle ride in May alongside soldiers wounded by war, and must raise at least £2,200.

It is an effort that has prompted her to enlist the help of Great Yarmouth Cycling Club chairman Norman Harlow, who she says has been a great help.

Matthew said: “It's a long way and she's not done anything like it before, but I thought it was great she was doing this, and she has always been supportive in whatever I do.”

Samantha will be collecting outside Morrisons in Gorleston over the weekend starting Friday, April 23. To sponsor her visit www.Bmycharity.com/Sammyboggis

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