FRIENDS of York war hero David Hart are in training for an epic cycling challenge to raise funds for wounded servicemen and women.

The 30-strong team, including David’s girlfriend, Sarah Horsley, hope to raise hundreds of pounds for Help For Heroes by cycling 140 miles from the west to east coast of England in three days.

Royal Marine Hart, from Upper Poppleton, was killed in July on the eve of his 24th birthday in an explosion while on foot patrol in Afghanistan.

Tackling the coast-to-coast cycle ride in his memory was the idea of Josh Bonner, 24, a data analyst at CPP, who went to Manor School with Marine Hart.

He said: “Dave was one of a kind. He didn’t have a bad bone in his body and he was literally one of those people who had a smile on his face no matter what situation he was in.

“We knew when he went out there that there was an outside chance, but when it happened we were all in total shock. It was devastating.”

Marine Hart’s girlfriend, Sarah, 22, who works as a team leader at Superdrug in Acomb, said having a challenge like this to work towards was helping her get through every day.

She said: “It doesn’t get any easier. Dave was perfect. I’ve never been happier than when I was with Dave and I don’t think I ever will be again. He really was the best.

“We had planned everything out together. When he got back we were going to get a house and two dogs, everything was planned.”

Another of the cyclists is 24-year-old Laura Kedie, a business manager for Aviva, who said: “I think Dave would be really proud of us and would definitely be laughing at some of the girls trying to attempt this. He was absolutely brilliant. He was the best.

“He was the biggest character of the group and he was a friend to everyone. We miss him loads – but the one comforting thing to us is that he died doing what he loved.

“The cycle ride is going to be tough, but we want to do this as a tribute to him. We don’t need any more motivation.”

To sponsor the team, who set off from Whitehaven to Sunderland on October 1, visit their online fundraising page at

Any businesses who would like to sponsor the team in return for a mention on their T-shirts should email Josh at