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Team from RAF Northolt get ready to pedal to Poland

On 23 April a team of cyclists from RAF Northolt will ride across Europe, from the Polish War Memorial to Poznan Airbase in Poland – a distance of 1200km over 10 days – to raise money for the RAF Benevolent Fund.

The ride forms part of the unit's rigorous training and development programme, designed to develop the physical, mental and military skills of those taking part. Though the ride will be an arduous physical event in itself, the team will stop along the route at locations of military significance to discuss and enhance their military knowledge, leadership, ethos, history and core values.

The Pedal to Poland team

The ride will also provide a chance to celebrate and cement further the close ties between RAF Northolt, Hillingdon, the local Polish community and the Polish Air Force.

A Polish military cycling team is planning to meet the RAF Northolt cyclists at the German border and ride the final leg into Poland. The team will arrive in Poznan on 3 May, which is Polish Constitution Day, a national holiday.

RAF Northolt's Station Commander, Group Captain David Manning, is an experienced triathlete and will be in the saddle leading the ride across Europe.

David said: "First and foremost Pedal to Poland is a very tough challenge which will test and develop the operational edge of those taking part, not just in terms of physical fitness and ethos, but also teamwork, logistical and planning skills.

"The route we are taking is special and has been chosen so that we will have the opportunity to reflect and remember those who fought in both World Wars while building, further, the strong links between RAF Northolt, the Polish Air Force and our local Polish communities.

"We are also taking the opportunity to raise funds for the RAF Benevolent Fund who allocated charitable support to Northolt worth over £80,000 over the last two years to bolster the welfare support to my personnel.  We will be out and about both collecting and training over the coming weeks and we're looking forward to meeting the public and hoping that they will donate generously."

Keep up to date with the team's cycle challenge by following RAF Northolt on Twitter or on Facebook. And if you'd like to make a donation to support the team's fundraising, please visit their Virgin Money Giving page.

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