On 13 October, 44 fundraisers took part in the Oxford Half 2019 on behalf of the RAF Benevolent Fund, collectively raising almost £4,000 for the RAF’s leading welfare charity.
Amongst the participants was RAF Benevolent Fund Ambassador Corporal Rob Bugden, who pushed his way around the 13.1-mile course in his wheelchair. In 2016, Rob was involved in a parachute accident when he collided with his colleague mid-air whilst on exercise in California. The accident left him with severe injuries and he is now a tetraplegic with complex care needs.
This is the second time Rob has pushed his way around the course, having completed it in 3 hours and 52 minutes in 2018. This year he was delighted to beat that time by 30 minutes. Taking to the course with him, were members of the HORUS Rugby team which have supported the Fund since Rob’s accident.
Rob said: “I’m beyond happy to be fundraising for the RAF Benevolent Fund once again. The Fund were there for me from the very beginning, so it feels great to be giving something back.
“I hope I can inspire anyone who thinks they might not be up to completing a half marathon to think again, as it truly is a case of mind over matter. It’s a fantastic atmosphere and knowing you’re doing it for such an important cause will keep you motivated.”
In the aftermath of Rob’s accident, the Fund initially gave his parents an immediate needs grant towards their costs of travel to the USA to visit him in hospital, and subsequently funded a respite break to give Rob some time away from hospital.
Later, the Fund helped Rob with his housing needs. Rob had bought his own property in 2015 before his accident but it was completely unsuitable for his needs. The Fund purchased a suitable bungalow in Wales for £425,000 through its Housing Trust, spending a further £225,000 to make it his home for life.
Charlotte Barmby, RAF Benevolent Fund Regional Fundraiser, added: “Taking part in a challenge event is one of the most exciting ways you can support us. With physically demanding but fun activities on offer, you can hike, bike or run to raise money.
“It’s wonderful to see such an impressive turnout for the Oxford Half. 2019 is an important year for the RAF Benevolent Fund, so we’re grateful for everyone who’s put the time and energy into fundraising for us.”
This year the RAF Benevolent Fund celebrates its 100th anniversary. To mark the milestone, it launched a major campaign to double the number of people it helps. The Join the Search. Change a Life. centenary campaign encourages the public to get thousands of RAF veterans and their families ‘back on the radar’ and, if they need it, accessing support that is rightfully theirs.