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Two sisters to walk White Horse Trail in memory of their RAF veteran father

Two sisters from the south west will be walking the White Horse Trail, a 100-mile route through Wiltshire offering views of the eight white horses that are cut into the turf of the chalk hillsides, to raise money for the RAF Benevolent Fund and the RAF Air Cadets.

To mark the air cadets’ 80th anniversary, the youth organisation has partnered with the Fund to launch a campaign aiming to raise £80,000. The 80 Miles in 80 Days challenge began on 1 June and runs until 19 August with funds raised split between the Fund and the RAF Air Cadets General Purpose Fund.

Judith Read, who lives near Exeter, and Bridgitte Wyre, who lives in the Wylye Valley, will be completing the challenge in memory of their father, Wing Commander Chris Peile, who passed away in April.

Judith said: “Our father was a big supporter of the RAF Benevolent Fund so when this challenge came up it seemed as though it was meant to be. So many people have told me they’ve benefitted from the Fund’s support so I’m really proud to be backing this important charity while inspiring the next generation.

“We’ll keep each other motivated throughout the challenge, as will our dogs who will be coming with us. We’ve already raised more than half of our fundraising target and there is absolutely no way that we are going to let our father down!”

Judith and Bridgitte have named their team ‘74 Tiger Squadron’ after one of their father’s postings to Singapore where he flew Electric Lightnings on 74 Squadron, which left lasting memories with the whole family.

Bridgitte added: “On the morning our father went into hospital we had all been chatting about long distance trails. He told us we should do the Wiltshire White Horse Trail – he had done it himself with a friend when he retired from the RAF. When we spotted the 80 Miles in 80 Days challenge, Judith and I decided it would be fitting to do this in his memory.

“We are going to split the trail into 10 sections varying from eight to 12 miles each. One of my dogs who will be joining us for the challenge is called Lightning – with him on our side, how can we not finish this challenge?”

You can sponsor Judith and Bridigitte via their fundraising page: rafbf.enthuse.com/pf/74-tiger-squadron.

Set up in 1941, the Combined Cadet Force and Air Training Corps are collectively known as the RAF Air Cadets. The groups provide youngsters aged 13 and above with opportunities for adventure, training and skills including learning to fly a glider.

The air cadets and the RAF Benevolent Fund have a long history of working together. As a charity which supports the RAF Family, the Fund has always been able to rely on support from the cadets in this mission with everything from fundraising efforts to supporting veterans and serving personnel at Fund events.

To mark the organisation’s 80th anniversary, the RAF Benevolent Fund is proud to offer an enhanced package of welfare support for the RAF Air Cadets, including members of the Combined Cadet Force. Support includes emotional wellbeing, counselling and bereavement support, as well as financial support if a member is killed, on or off duty. This also extends to staff cadets and uniformed volunteers.

To share your memories of being an air cadet or to take part in the Fund’s 80 Miles in 80 Days challenge, head to rafbf.org/aircadets.

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