A team of three flight operations officers from RAF Waddington have successfully completed a gruelling task of scaling Mount Snowdon’s four faces to the summit in one day. The team undertook the challenge in a grand fundraising triumph to mark the centenary of the RAF Benevolent Fund, the RAF’s leading welfare charity.
Snowdon, located in Snowdonia National Park in Gwynedd, is the highest mountain in Wales, with an elevation of 1,085 metres above sea level, and the highest point in the British Isles outside of the Scottish Highlands.
The team, consisting of Flying Officer Ben Parkin, 41, from Chichester, Flight Lieutenant Chris Thorburn, 37, from Redruth, Cornwall, and Corporal Brian Metcalfe, 35, from Scunthorpe, attempted to reach the summit from the mountain’s four different trails to the peak. Each route was completed as a leg: Llanberis (North), Miners (East), Watkin (South), and Ranger (West).
Covering a cumulative distance of 47km and reaching a total ascent of more than 3,500 metres, the team aimed to complete the journey as quickly as possible, non-stop, in just one day. This took 11 hours, 36 minutes and 4 seconds, with Ben Parkin clocking up a total of 77,000 steps over the course of the day and burning almost 10,000 calories.
Flying Officer Ben Parkin said: "My motivation to support the RAF Benevolent Fund stems from the assistance the charity has given to friends of mine in the RAF over the years. From this, I wanted to help support them as much as I can, to commemorate the work they do to aid the welfare of the RAF family."
Now commissioned in the Flight Operations branch at RAF Waddington, Ben first joined the RAF Regiment in 1998 and served on various tours around the world until 2005, before taking the plunge into Civilian St in the private security sector.
Aaron Tillyer, Regional Fundraiser at the RAF Benevolent Fund, said: "We are very grateful to receive such huge level of support from the RAF team at Waddington. This is a massive challenge, and a great way to mark our centenary year."
Last year, the RAF Benevolent Fund supported more than 53,000 people with a wide range of welfare needs, from relationship counselling, to the Airplay youth support scheme, and care home top up fees for elderly RAF veterans.
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.