Morrison's supermarket in Stamford was the venue for an epic indoor row-a-thon earlier this month when personnel from RAF Wittering completed 100 kilometres for the RAF100 Appeal.
Morrison's regular customers were greeted with an unusual sight as they walked into the foyer; RAF personnel pulling away on indoor rowing machines.
Starting at eight o'clock in the morning, the 15-strong team from Low Flying Operations (LF Ops) Flight and Ops Wing worked in 10 to 15-minute intervals, with each rower taking two or three sessions.
The RAF100 Appeal is a joint venture between the Royal Air Force and four major RAF charities – the Royal Air Force Benevolent Fund, the Royal Air Forces Association, the Royal Air Force Charitable Trust and the Royal Air Force Museum. The people of Stamford showed the generosity for which they are so well known and donated over £330 during the day.
Lisa Hunt is the Regional Fundraiser for the Royal Air Force Benevolent Fund and was with the crew from LF Ops throughout the challenge. She said: "They've rowed really hard and you could see how much effort it's taken. The Royal Air Force Benevolent Fund is the heart of the RAF family and the people of Stamford have been so generous. We are hugely proud to have spent over £226,000 at RAF Wittering in the last two years helping serving personnel when they need a helping hand the most."
Senior Aircraftman Matthew Hibbitt had the idea and worked with Morrison's and the RAF Wittering Physical Education Flight who supplied the indoor rowing machines. He said: "Everyone's done fantastically and put a lot of effort in, the public have been really supportive and Morrison's have been so hospitable."
The team hit the halfway mark just before midday on 9 May. A JustGiving page has been set up by the team and donations can still be made.
At a quarter to four Corporal Mick Chrimes rowed the team to their 100km target. On average, most of the team members rowed at an impressive 34-35 strokes per minute, with some exceeding a blistering 40 strokes per minute as they powered up for a sprint finish.
SAC Hibbitt continued: "It's been tough and there will definitely be some sore legs, but I knew we'd get there in the end."
Flight Lieutenant Louise Blakemore is Officer Commanding Low Flying Operations Flight. She said: "I'm so proud of them! Projects like this don't organise themselves and it takes real work to make sure everything is in place. SAC Hibbitt and the rest of the team have done very well, a great achievement. The staff at Morrison's and the townsfolk of Stamford have been wonderful. Thank you so much for your support."