Members of a local motorbike club are set to travel to the Thiepval War Memorial to pay their respects at a Battle of the Somme centenary event.
The commemoration ceremony will be particularly poignant for the Lone Wolves Brotherhood, as many are former members of regiments which fought in The Somme.
Club president Sammy Wilson told the Times that he and the club’s vice president John ‘Hutch’ Hutchinson would be attending the official ticket-only ceremony at Thiepval War memorial.
Meanwhile, other club members will travel to centenary events at locations around France.
“We decided to go because a big percentage of our club are ex military through the army and RAF and many were in regiments that were at the Somme,” Sammy told the Times.
“I was in the army for 22 years and Hutch was in it as well, and our regiments were at the Somme.
“There is a lot of history with Armed Forces member ship and the club.
“We go to various events in the UK, some in Europe, but we thought that the 100th anniversary of the Somme was special.
“There will be a member of the Royal family attending the event, as well as visiting dignitaries.
“We won’t be able to lay a wreath but we want to be there to pay our respects.
“I think it is important to keep the spirit of the Somme alive and to honour the war dead, not only from that conflict but throughout history.”
Sammy says that many members of the Lone Wolves had joined the club as they can experience a similar sense of camaraderie to that of the Armed Forces.
“In the army there is a sense of companionship, brotherhood, discipline and a hierarchy,” he continued.
“If you have been in the army and have got that order in your life then some people still like to be part of an organisation afterwards.”
The club recently took part in a tribute ride for the two soldiers killed at Massereene army barracks in 2009.
The Lone Wolves Brotherhood has also organised several charity events over the years, raising money for cancer support organisations as well as over £3000 for the Oxygen Therapy centre.
“We like to fundraise to support small, local charities rather than the big national charities,” Sammy continued.
“We have a rally at the Glynn every year to fundraise for charity and we would also organise fundraising race nights.”
The all-male club meets on the first Tuesday of every month at 8.30pm in The Bodega bar in Larne.
Anyone wishing to join must own a bike of over 500cc in order to keep up with the club during rides.