RAF Digby cycle team take the high road

The RAF Digby cycle team arrive in Edinburgh. EMN-160517-095956001
The RAF Digby cycle team arrive in Edinburgh. EMN-160517-095956001

A team of four RAF servicemen have cycled from RAF Digby to Edinburgh Castle and back, in aid of the RAF Benevolent Fund and Diabetes UK, raising more than £3,700.

Setting off on April 29, the riders completed their challenge on May 5, covering 645 miles in total.

The four cyclists were accompanied by two further RAF personnel, providing logistic support for the duration of the feat.

Hailing from RAF stations across Lincolnshire, Sergeants Paul Satterthwaite, Darren Swift, Dave Gordon and Jon Starbuck had admitted that prior to the challenge itself, the riders had only managed to train as a group once.

Sergeant Gordon said: “The ride was amazing but very tough, if it hadn’t been for my team mates I would have definitely abandoned the challenge. On the first day we faced hail and scattered showers followed by 60 miles of uphill cycling on the fourth day. On the last day, the sun was out and we received a very warm welcome from the RAF Benevolent Fund team – they ensured we were properly looked after.

“Fundraising for two great charities was definitely the team’s driving force and really inspired us to stick with it. We rerouted our journey home to include some worthwhile sights but failed to enjoy them as we had our heads to the ground keen to get home to Lincolnshire to another great welcome party, organised by my wife.”

Having seen first hand how the RAF Benevolent Fund supports service families – Sergeant Gordon explained how it was an obvious choice to raise funds for the RAF’s leading welfare charity.

He said: “Since the RAF Benevolent Fund has revamped the children’s play park at RAF Digby the transition has been huge. My nine-year-old son attends Airplay and so I have seen first hand how the Fund supports service families with their welfare projects.”

Airplay is the RAF Benevolent Fund’s 12 year, £24 million support programme for children and young people of RAF families aged up to 19 years, operating on all main RAF bases in the UK. On 25 stations youth workers deliver activities all year to keep young people safely occupied.