RAF servicemen get set to march 100km in 24 hours for 78th anniversary of D-Day
In honour of the 78th anniversary of D-Day, two RAF personnel have planned a 100km march which they aim to complete in just 24 hours.
Through the gruelling challenge, Flight Lieutenant Ben Parkin and Flight Lieutenant Richard 'Stan' Stanley will raise money for the RAF Benevolent Fund, the RAF's leading welfare charity.
To add to the challenge, Ben and Stan will be carrying 30kg of kit, the equivalent weight of what the men carried during the D-Day landings in 1944.
The challenge had originally been planned for the 77th anniversary of the Normandy landings, but due to Covid-19 travel restrictions it has been delayed until this year. However, Ben and Stan honoured the anniversary on 6 June 2021 by completing a 50km training march starting at Belton House, Lincolnshire, the former site of RAF Regiment Depot Belton Park where the RAF personnel who took part in the D-Day landings trained. The event will now take place over 1 and 2 June this year.
Ben, 44, is currently based at MoD Boscombe Down as an air liaison officer on the UK Air Support Operations Sqn.
He said: "The challenge actually started out as a bit of a joke between Stan and I after he spotted a five-day Normandy beaches walking tour. Stan said he thought we could do it in a single day and I agreed with him and it spiralled from there. I’m a bit of a military history geek and we wanted to reflect the conditions from D-Day, so we added the 30kg to make it more realistic and more challenging.
"We've managed to train together quite a bit and we’ve been carrying the full kit to get used to the weight. I think the last 50km will be toughest, but this is the first challenge like this that Stan and I are doing together – so maybe the real challenge will be staying friends afterwards!"
So far, they have raised more than £1,600 for the Fund. To donate, visit justgiving.com/richard-stanley7.
The RAF Benevolent Fund provides financial, practical and emotional support to the whole of the RAF Family, both serving personnel and veterans, as well as their partners and dependants.