Wing Commander Martin 'Tinny' Tinworth has served in the RAF for nearly 30 years. He is marking his 30 years of service by running the London Marathon for the RAF Benevolent Fund. Tinny tells us more in this blog.
Many years ago I joined the RAF as a 17 year old apprentice technician. My plan at that stage was to work on fast jets and see the world, however, I ended up flying them instead!
My RAF career has been extremely varied. As a Junior Tech, I briefly worked on Chinooks at Odiham but subsequently was offered a commission and post training, flew Phantom F4s from RAF Wildenrath in Germany, followed by Tornados from Coningsby and Leeming; which included deployments to the Falklands (ten times!), Bosnia (twice) and flying during the first Gulf War.
So where am I now? After returning from Afghanistan at the end of 2011, I was posted into the Ministry of Defence as the RAF’s Chief Press Officer.
It’s a fascinating role, on call day and night, dealing with national journalists in order to promote the RAF or more likely defend our reputation.
So will my marathon be easy? Not a chance. Some history: In 1990 I flew a Phantom back to the UK on a Friday for simulator training. I had a weekend back in the UK, but slipped off a kerb in the rain and was clipped by a Citroen 2CV breaking my left knee.
So I’m running the London Marathon with a completely rebuilt left knee, including titanium screws – part man, part machine! It still swells quite a bit now, but it should be fine for the marathon.... touch wood!
My training routine (like my life) is wide and varied; I’m training five or six times a week and so far I’ve completed four long runs of 13, 15, 16 and 17 miles. I continue to try and mix my routine up with short runs to and from work and gym sessions of weights and circuits. It’s hard work but I’m getting there.
So onto the serious stuff, as the RAF has been my life, pretty much man and boy, and this year is my 30th year of service, I have seen firsthand what a difference quality support can make to our people and so I want to give something back.
This year I am running the London Marathon to support Corporal Mick McConnell, an RAF Police dog handler who during a routine patrol in Afghanistan was caught in an IED blast and seriously injured. Sadly, he is now waiting for an operation to amputate his damaged leg below the left knee.
On a more positive note the RAF Benevolent Fund has stepped into help Mick and his wife Lorna, supporting them with housing and adapting their home for Mick's needs. I am proud to support work such as this and hope the funds I am raising for the RAF Benevolent Fund will make a difference.
Wish me luck, your support is greatly appreciated.
Martin 'Tinny' Tinworth