I’m Chris Irven, born in 1935 and a soldier for many years until after the first Gulf War. My wife Molly and I have seven children who are bringing up 21 grandchildren. We are a close-knit family and we see this tribe as our crowning achievement, a blessing beyond what we could have hoped for.

My Catholic faith is the mainstay of my life. I like exploring theology and science, and the connections between them that are the playground of the human mind, given by God as one way of coming to know Him. I write about and discuss these things with family and friends, and have published three books on prayer. I enjoy watercolour painting, expressing my delight in creation in which I see God’s image.

An important part of my life is challenge, and mountaineering has always been a powerful draw. I have survived leukaemia, a minor stroke and – thanks to medical skill – a near-fatal car accident. That was when I started cycling 14 years ago as a way of regaining control over my life. In all, I have done four cycling ‘pilgrimages’ totalling more than 7,000 miles, this one being the latest. My motive this time is a desire for justice and help for young soldiers to overcome their injuries. I have first-hand experience of the excellent rehabilitation provided by Headley Court and want to support it through Help for Heroes.

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