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Honington team in group

RAF Honington team take on 33-mile walk in memory of RAF serviceman


On 3 May, RAF Honington civil servant took part in a 33-mile walk in memory of RAF serviceman, to raise money for the RAF Benevolent Fund, the RAF’s leading welfare charity.

Rachel John, 37 completed the walk alongside service and civilian colleagues from Logistics Support Flight at RAF Honington, in memory of their late colleague Air Specialist (Class 1) Simon Bailey.

The team completed the 33 mile walk to mark the age AS1 Bailey would have been this year.

The walk was completed in a relay to encourage competition amongst the teams to complete their allotted 11 miles in the fastest time.

Rachel organised the event, with the support of her colleague, Officer in Charge Jacqueline Smith, wishing to honour Si’s memory and for proceeds to go to the RAF Benevolent Fund which was what the Family requested on his passing last year.

Rachel said: “The target was 33 miles around the airfield with each team completing two laps, so between the 15 of us walking, we completed just over 150 miles in total and the quickest team time for the two laps was 2 hours 40 mins.

“We set fundraising goal at £300, and the last check showed us at £900. We are very grateful for the generosity of people to smash our target and raise much needed funds – we couldn’t have done it without the support of the unit, our colleagues, friends & family.”

Rachel said: “Si’s passing was felt significantly within the flight. In my short time working with him, I came to find out how dedicated he was to his family. He was genuine and I feel honoured to have known him. I wanted this event to be a celebration of Si’s life.”

She continued: “Si was very personable and nothing was too much trouble. You were always greeted with a friendly smile, and he would often pop into the office to have a chat. His friendly and compassionate nature, his good humour, and the love he expressed for his wife and children made his character standout.

“Although I only knew Si for a short time, I have struggled with loss, and for me, organising this charity walk was my way of being able to say goodbye.”

Rachel said: “I would like to encourage anyone who is struggling to reach out. It is reported mental health outcomes for men and women are not equal. The societal expectations of masculinity, means men are less likely to talk about their feelings and suffer in silence. The RAF Benevolent Fund is there to provide emotional support to serving personnel, veterans and their families.”

You can donate to the team’s fundraiser here.