Personnel from Royal Air Force Leeming combined an operational tour with a charity challenge which raised more than £15,000 for good causes.
Members of 1 Squadron, Tactical Communications Wing, 90 Signals Unit set themselves the tough charity goal of covering a distance equivalent to circumnavigating the globe through running, rowing cycling or cross training whilst they were deployed in support of Afghanistan operations earlier this year. And in honour of adventure figure Phileas Fogg, they wanted to hit their goal in just 80 days.
Organiser, Warrant Officer Mark Townsend, said: “Around 50 people were taking part at first and they all pledged to raise £100, so we knew we would raise at least £5,000.
“We ended up doing lots of different activities, including lifting the equivalent weight of various aircraft. In Kandahar we had personnel from the US Army joining in.”
Back home, families were able to track the Squadron’s progress via a map on the internet, as well as sending messages of support. Mark said:“It was outstanding. People’s enthusiasm to be involved was phenomenal. We have already started to think about what we can come up with for next year. It’s really good to get involved.”
The funds have been split between the Royal Air Forces Association, Herriot Hospice Homecare and the Rutson Rehabilitation Centre, which is based at the Friarage Hospital in Northallerton. Receiving the cash on behalf on Herriot Hospice Homecare was Victoria Hodgson. She said: “The money will go towards funding those services across Hambleton and Richmondshire which is a huge area to cover.”
Rutson Rehabilitation Centre, which is an inpatient unit catering mainly for patients recovering from Stroke and other neurological conditions, will be using its donation to buy two specially-designed chairs. Ward Manager Mary Thrall said: “It is always very difficult to get suitable chairs because the whole body can be badly affected by Stroke. So we need chairs that can be fully adjusted in every way to meet the needs of each patient. Donations like this are fantastic.”