For the fifth consecutive year, The Trooper Heavy Metal Truants have set off on their epic charity cycle ride to Download Festival.
Founded in 2012 by Iron Maiden manager Rod Smallwood and music journalist Alexander Milas, the 52-strong collective from all walks of life – including fans, industry and bands - left London’s Alexandra Palace this morning for their three-day 164 mile trek to Donington Park.
The cycle ride benefits three charities; Teenage Cancer Trust, Nordoff Robbins and Childline and over the past four years they’ve raised an incredible £338,000.
As well as donations from the public to raise money, as they seek to hit their fundraising target of £150,000 the Truants have this year announced a titular sponsorship from Iron Maiden and Robinsons Brewery’s award-winning Trooper Beer.
On top of this, they’ve joined forces with rock/metal cabaret sensations The Lounge Kittens to record a cover of Queen’s 1978 single ‘Bicycle Race’ featuring all of The Trooper Heavy Metal Truants on backing vocals.
Recorded and mixed by Olli Daffarn at Blue Dot Studios in Brighton, the Queen endorsed ‘Bicycle Race’ cover is available to download right here with all proceeds going to the three charities.
As if that wasn’t enough, last night (6th day of the 6th month @ 6pm) the Trooper Heavy Metal Truants charity auction was launched with six very special items going under the hammer.
The items are as follows:
1. A Fender Geddy Lee Signature Model Jazz Bass guitar autographed by Rush’s Geddy Lee and Alex Lifeson.
2. A Les Paul Guitar signed by Metallica’s Lars Ulrich, Kirk Hammett, Robert Trujillo, and James Hetfield.
3. The lyrics of Bon Jovi's classic Livin' On A Prayer, personally handwritten by Jon Bon Jovi.
4. A presentation disc of Motorhead's final album, Bad Magic, signed by Phil Campbell, Mikkey D, and Lemmy Kilmister.
5. A highly collectable painting of George Harrison by world-renowned pop and rock portrait artist Barry Novis.
6. A rare Grateful Dead poster, signed by the band the day before their show in Santa Clara on June 27th, 2015.
You can bid for the items here. A second and even larger auction will launch on Tuesday 4th July.
“This is all about community and doing some good in the world,” says Rod Smallwood. “It’s that sense of community that’s at the core of heavy metal culture, and it’s also been key to the success of the Heavy Metal Truants, because people at every level of our world have truly pulled together to make this happen.”