Sunday, 19 September 2021

Fathers & sons cycle to Paris for RAF charities

A TEAM of 10 fathers and sons completed a five-day charity cycle ride from RAF Benson to Paris.

A TEAM of 10 fathers and sons completed a five-day charity cycle ride from RAF Benson to Paris.

The 350-mile Lads ’n’ Dads challenge was to raise money for three service charities, the RAF Benevolent Fund, the RAF Association and the RAF Charitable Trust.

The team consisted of six service personnel from the base and four of their fathers — Wg Cdr Toby Sawbridge, Sqn Ldr Ryan Morris, Sydney Morris, Sgt Justin Kmieciak-Thorpe, Nigel Thorpe, Corp Dave Thomson, David Farquharson, Corp Graeme Miller, Royal Navy air engineering technician James McCleester and Paul McCleester.

Along the way, they took in several sites of historical military significance, including the Runnymede memorial, the Amiens and the Somme battlefields, the Thiepval Memorial and the D-Day landing sites at Dieppe. The men were met at the Eiffel Tower by Air Commodore Paul Lyall, former RAF Benson station commander and now a defence attaché.

Sqn Ldr Ryan Morris, an RAF pilot who organised the ride, said: “I have seen first-hand some of the benefits that RAF charities bring to the daily lives of many serving personnel. From the delivery of Christmas gifts to those working overseas to the delivery of vital medical care to desperate families in need, they make an amazing difference.”

To make a donation, visit Benson2Paris

Meanwhile, a former RAF serviceman is aiming to walk along the length of the Ridgeway in 24 hours. Trevor Power, 47, of The Moorlands, will start the challenge at 8am tomorrow (Saturday) at Ivinghoe Beacon in Buckinghamshire and hopes to reach the other end at West Kennett in Wiltshire by 8am on Sunday.

He will be raising money for Helen and Douglas House Children’s Hospice in Oxford and Maytree, a charity which helps people who are feeling suicidal.

Mr Power said: “My target is 62 miles because that’s 100km. If I manage 50 miles and have the energy and time remaining I will continue for as long as my legs allow and hopefully complete the entire 87-mile route.”

Two years ago he walked from Ivinghoe Beacon to Goring.

Mr Power said: “I’ve always wondered how far I could actually go. On this occasion it’s how far can I go in 24 hours?” He will be supported along the route with food, drinks and a change of clothing by friends and staff from the Crown Inn in Benson.

Mr Power retired from the air force in 2011 after 22 years, including 12 at RAF Benson where he was involved in fleet planning for the Merlin and Puma helicopters. He is now self-employed and reviews technical publications for the military.

In 2011 he was made an MBE for promoting sport for children in South Oxfordshire and in 2013 he set himself a target of running 1,000 miles in a year, which he completed in 10 months. He has already raised £1,000 with his latest challenge, including £341 from a raffle at the Co-operative store in Benson.

To make a donation, visit and search for “Trevor Power”

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