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The Beaujolais Run launches 50th physical event from RAF Northolt

Earlier this week, RAF Northolt hosted the launch of The Beaujolais Run®, a world-famous navigational challenge marking the release of the latest Beaujolais Nouveau each November. Drivers are tasked with ‘bringing home the Beaujolais’, taking the shortest route back to the UK from France.

Originally launched in 1970, the event has supported the RAF Benevolent Fund since 2017. This year, several teams driving a unique range of vehicles are taking part in the five-day event, including a 1963 E-Type Jaguar.

On Sunday evening, drivers were welcomed to RAF Northolt and given a tour of Building No. 27, a former Battle of Britain operations room, followed by a champagne reception. The following morning, they enjoyed breakfast in the Officers’ Mess accompanied by the RAF Salon Orchestra before witnessing a Continuity Drill Display from the Queens’ Colour Squadron.

Group Captain Toria McPhaden, Station Commander at RAF Northolt, said: “RAF Northolt was delighted to support the launch of the Beaujolais Run on Monday. The event was facilitated by many members of the Station and helped to highlight the excellent work the RAF Benevolent Fund does to support the RAF Family, whether serving, veteran or our families. We wish all of the drivers success in their endeavours and thank them for all they are doing to support the Fund.”

Last year, The Beaujolais Run took place virtually for the first time in its history due to Covid-19 travel restrictions. Supported by RAF stations and units, participants experienced France’s finest vineyards in Beaujolais, Burgundy, Provence and Champagne from the comfort of their homes. Winemakers from brands such as Champagne Taittinger, Henry Fessy and Charles Heidsieck supported the endeavour.

Credit: Oliver Dixon/RAF Benevolent Fund
Rowena Finch, Corporate Partnerships Manager at the RAF Benevolent Fund, said: “Since The Beaujolais Run began supporting the Fund four years ago, it has raised vital income, allowing us to help countless more members of the RAF Family in their time of need. And following last year’s virtual event, it’s a pleasure to see The Beaujolais Run taking place across the UK and France once again.

“I’d like to extend my thanks to The Beaujolais Run’s organisers and each of this year’s teams for choosing to support the RAF Benevolent Fund through this exciting fundraising challenge. I’d also like to thank RAF Northolt for launching the 2021 Run – as a former Battle of Britain station, Northolt is steeped in history, making this send off all the more poignant.”

The RAF Benevolent Fund provides financial, emotional, and practical assistance to serving RAF personnel, veterans, and their families. This includes grants to help with financial difficulty, free memberships for Headspace, Airplay youth clubs, and more. In 2020 alone, the Fund spent £165,000 supporting personnel and their families based at RAF Northolt.

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