The charities who benefit from Heavy Metal Truants – Save The Children, Nordoff Robbins, NSPCC/Childline and the Teenage Cancer Trust – have shared more than £888,000 raised by the previous rides, and organisers hope to bring the total to over £1,000,000 after this year's event.
Now in its ninth edition, the 175-mile ride to the festival site at Castle Donington usually takes two and a half days to complete, but this year, with the Download Festival postponed until 2022, entrants are able to work towards a number of goals. These range from 35 miles by foot, all the way up to 1000 miles by bike, with all distances to be completed within a 12 day period from May 24 to June 4.
"The cat's out of the bag," says Dickinson. "I'm joining the Heavy Metal Truants to help raise money for these heroic children’s charities. With touring out the window once again, there’s no good reason why I couldn’t sign on at last and no good reason why you can’t either!
"I'm calling on all fans, bands and people who work behind the scenes to join me on the virtual road to Download. Every single penny counts for these charities who've been hit hard by the pandemic so no matter how much, or how little, you raise, by joining us you will make a difference in a child's life. Sign up today!"
Heavy Metal Truants was set up in 2012 by Iron Maiden manager Rod Smallwood and ex-Metal Hammer magazine editor-in-chief Alexander Milas. Download Festival in 2022 will be headlined by Iron Maiden, Kiss and Biffy Clyro.