RAF father and son duo take on Mount Kilimanjaro trek for Fund
On 17 January, father and son duo will take on an eight-day trek to Mount Kilimanjaro with a goal to reach the summit to raise money for the RAF Benevolent Fund.
Former Wing Commander Nigel Lee and son Flight Lieutenant Thomas (Tom) Lee based at RAF Lossiemouth, will be joining a small trekking party of 12-15 people, supported by local expedition leaders, guides and porters in Tanzania.
Nigel said: “The goal is the summit at 5895m or 19,340 ft, with the final day of climbing starting just after midnight and ascending over 1000m. We wanted to give ourselves a superb goal and challenge, to do this together, and to provide a catalyst to raise funds for our chosen charities.”
The pair are also raising money towards cancer services at the Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital Trust, another charity close to their hearts.
Nigel said: “Having served in the RAF for 20 years and now working in the NHS, I can see the challenges that serving personnel, veterans and their families of all ages face. We wanted to combine our wish to support people in the greatest need with our strong RAF connections and help the RAF Benevolent Fund to provide the range of welfare support to serving and former members of the RAF and their families.”
Tom has worked closely with the Fund whilst based at Lossiemouth as a Weapon Systems Officer with 201 Squadron, hosting events and working closely with Fund staff and volunteers. Tom said: “It’s fantastic to be taking on this challenge with my dad – I realise that everyone is not necessarily fortunate to be able to do this, nor to experience this type of challenge together. We both know that this will be special. But we also want to try and harness the event to raise awareness of the Fund and hopefully generate funds for the amazing work.”
Throughout 2023, the duo set themselves a series of individual goals in the lead up to the trek. Nigel said: “To prepare I set myself some milestones. I did the ‘Couch to 5k’ in June and July and I successfully completed my first half marathon in September in two hours 28 minutes. I have been doing a series of walks in north Wales throughout the winter months including Snowdon.”
Tom has also spent 2023 training for the trek. He said: “I set myself some challenges during 2023, including the Inverness Half Marathon, the Edinburgh Marathon and in November the Dava Way 50km (31 miles) Ultra Marathon.
“I have also climbed a number of Munros over the past few months, including Cairngorm, An Teallach in the Western Highlands, and Aonach Eagach ridge in Glencoe.”
Tom added: “As I turn thirty next year, I am looking to mark the year with a set of notable events. I am most looking forward to experiencing diverse cultures and local people on this trek - and to scale the world’s highest free-standing mountain. Climbing Kilimanjaro sets a high bar for the events I plan to take part in in 2024!”
The pair have raised over £1300 for their chosen charities so far. You can donate to Nigel and Tom’s fundraiser on JustGiving.