On 7th September 2019, nine serving military personnel set off to cycle 800km from the NATO Joint Force Command Headquarters in Brunssum, the Netherlands to the NATO School in Oberammergau, southern Germany. They decided to organise the challenge to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the signing of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO), while raising money for two charities.
The group, which is made up of personnel from both the UK and France, will be raising money for the RAF Benevolent Fund, the RAF’s leading welfare charity, and the Invictus Games Foundation, an international adaptive sports event founded by Prince Harry for wounded, injured and sick service personnel and veterans.
Wing Commander Toby Sawbridge commented: “Having served in the RAF for over 30 years, I’ve had the opportunity to see first-hand the great work that the RAF Benevolent Fund does. Likewise, the Invictus Games is a fantastic event and the international nature of the work they do reflects the values of unity and solidarity of NATO.”
Climbing almost 19,000 feet between the 7th and the 13th of September, the team are due to be saddled up for a minimum of 30 hours in total. They will stop off at the new Joint Support and Enabling Command (JSEC) in Ulm, Germany on the way, and on the way back, they will stop off at Ramstein Airbase where the NATO Air Component Command is based.
Heather Kemp, RAF Benevolent Fund Regional Fundraiser, added: “It’s truly inspiring to see so many serving personnel coming together for fundraise for us while balancing their existing responsibilities. This year the Fund celebrates its 100th anniversary. To mark our centenary, we have launched a campaign to reach even more serving and retired RAF personnel in need, something we simply could not do without fundraising efforts like this.”
The RAF Benevolent Fund provides emotional, financial and practical assistance to serving and retired RAF personnel and their families. This includes welfare breaks, grants to help with financial difficulty, specialist advice on benefits and support with care needs, and more.
If you would like to support the team, you can donate via the group’s Virgin Money Giving page.