Hornsea Inshore Rescue has played host to an Armed Forces veteran who has been on a fundraising trip around the British Isles for the past 15 months.
Alan Stokes, known to all as Tiny, is raising money for veterans’ post-traumatic stress disorder charities.
With a bicycle and a trailer full of tents and supplies, he set off from Plymouth in December 2021 and travelled around Cornwall, then up through Wales including Anglesey and Snowdon, until he eventually reached Morecambe where his trailer finally collapsed under the strain.
Fortunately, a local bike shop had an old trailer in its cellar that it modified to suit Tiny’s needs and generously donated it. This trailer, which weighs about a quarter of a ton, has been his home ever since. It has accompanied him to the far north of Scotland and on to the Orkneys and, covering about 20 miles a day, it eventually reached Hornsea.
Prior to arriving in the town, Tiny had visited the east coast of Scotland and turned inland to eventually visit South Yorkshire and then back up to Skipton in North Yorkshire. From there he went on to the east coast, stopping at Whitby, Scarborough and Bridlington.
Tiny first joined the forces aged 19 when, without his parents’ knowledge, he and a friend joined the French Foreign Legion. He fought in Iraq in Operation Desert Storm for two years and then spent his leave back at his parents’ home in England. When they found out what he had been doing, and seeing the signs of PTSD, his father destroyed Tiny’s passport which prevented his return to the Legion and a spell in Bosnia.
From then on Tiny settled for a while, married and started his own business, but his PTSD eventually became too much, and he became homeless.
Eventually he got his life back together again and decided he would do whatever he could to support veterans’ PTSD charities. So far, he has raised more than £6,000.
Tiny anticipates completing his journey back in Plymouth just before Christmas but he will be setting off again, with another veteran friend and this time, and they will be walking around Britain for an anticipated four years – during which time they will be hoping to start a centre for PTSD sufferers in Scotland.
Tiny writes poetry while on his travels and has a book of his poems published called Love, Life and Leisure, which is available on Amazon both in paperback and Kindle.
Sue Hickson-Marsay, chairman of Hornsea Inshore Rescue and station manager, said: “We were so thrilled to meet Tiny – a really amazing bloke. We were pleased to put him up for the night and we wish him all the very best on his travels.”
Tiny has a Facebook page, Tiny’s GB Cycle Ride, and he can also be found on YouTube.