On Sunday 8 September, Group Captain Shaun Harris, Station Commander at RAF High Wycombe, took part in the Great North Run with his wife Marie to raise money for the RAF Benevolent Fund, the RAF's leading welfare charity.
The couple decided to sign up for the Great North Run so Marie could achieve her long-term ambition of running a half marathon. Shaun has previously completed around 15 half marathons as well as the Edinburgh Marathon in 2016.
Shaun completed the half marathon, which takes place in Newcastle and is the largest half marathon in the world, in 1 hour and 48 minutes, while Marie finished in 3 hours and 25 minutes.
Upon completing the race, Group Captain Shaun Harris said: “I’ve seen the tremendous work that the RAF Benevolent Fund has done for our personnel, families and veterans throughout my career, so I wanted to give something back to the charity that’s always there for us in our time of need.”
The RAF Benevolent Fund provides emotional, financial and practical assistance to serving and retired RAF personnel and their families. The Fund recently funded the refurbishment of a Community Hub at RAF High Wycombe for youth groups, health visitors and other services. The station has also received equipment for Babies and Bumps, Parents & Toddlers, Messy Mondays and Start & Play groups, that again support families based at High Wycombe.
Although this was Shaun's first time fundraising for the RAF Benevolent Fund, Marie has previously raised money for the Fund by canoeing down a section of the River Spey in northeast Scotland when the couple were based at RAF Lossiemouth.
Heather Kemp, RAF Benevolent Fund Regional Fundraiser, added: "Juggling the various pressures that the role of Station Commander poses whilst training for a half marathon is no easy feat. Shaun and Marie have been incredibly generous with their time, helping to raise money for and awareness of the RAF Benevolent Fund. Efforts like these mean that we can go on supporting the wider RAF Family, so from everyone here at the Fund – thank you."
This year the RAF Benevolent Fund celebrates its 100th anniversary and to mark the milestone, it launched a major campaign in June to double the number of people it helps.
The Join the Search. Change a Life 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.
If you would like to support Shaun and Marie, you can donate via their JustGiving page.