On 16 February, a team of seven personnel from the Queen’s Colour Squadron, based at RAF Northolt, will begin the virtual ascent and descent of the seven highest mountains in each of the seven continents. In doing so, the team will raise money for the RAF Benevolent Fund, the RAF's leading welfare charity, and Mind, the mental health charity.
The team will climb a total of 43,316 metres, which equates to the combined elevation of Mount Everest, Mount Aconcagua, Mount Denali, Mount Kilimanjaro, Mount Elbrus, Mount Vinson and Mount Puncak Jaya. The challenge will be completed continuously over a 72-hour period, finishing on 19 February.
Squadron Leader Marcus Hicks, Officer Commanding the Queen's Colour Squadron, said: "This will be a gruelling challenge that will physically and mentally test each of the team members. Building on the success of our Aircraft Pull for the RAF Benevolent Fund's Hardest Day Challenge last year, we wanted to complete a physical event that could be managed within the current Covid-19 restrictions. We are raising money for two very deserving charities which have been central to supporting people through the ongoing pandemic. The Queen’s Colour Squadron is proud to have an official partnership with the RAF Benevolent Fund and looks forward to the relationship growing even stronger throughout this year."
Sqn Ldr Hicks will be joined in the challenge by Fg Off Mitchell, WO Martin, SAC Jones, SAC Bird, SAC Lee and SAC Chaffey.
So far, the team have raised more than £450. You can donate via their fundraising page: virginmoneygiving.com/EdwardMitchell8 and you can follow their progress by searching #QCS7Summits on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.
In 2020 in response to the Covid-19 pandemic, the RAF Benevolent Fund introduced a 24-hour emotional support helpline and created an online mental wellbeing zone, as well as offering Headspace memberships to partners of serving personnel. The Fund has also offered a grant of £2,500 to each RAF station to provide an activity and wellbeing pack for RAF children and launched Airplay Connect, an online version of its youth support service.
Charlotte Barmby, Regional Fundraiser at the RAF Benevolent Fund, said: "In what has been a difficult year for all charities, we are delighted that the Queen's Colour Squadron has chosen to fundraise in support of the Fund’s welfare services. This support is crucial and will allow the Fund to continue helping the whole of the RAF Family, whenever they may need us."