Northamptonshire aerobatic display team cycle more than 600 miles collectively, raising thousands for charity
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A Northamptonshire-based aerobic display team has cycled more than 600 miles collectively to raise money for an RAF charity.
Sywell-based aerobatic display team, the Blades, cycled the mammoth distance to raise money for the RAF Benevolent Fund
Supported by the team’s parent company, 2Excel Aviation, the eight cyclists split into two groups to take on one of two routes around Lincolnshire.
This physically challenging ride put the group through its paces with the team completing it in less than nine hours.
There is set to be another official RAF Benevolent Fund bike ride taking place around Lincolnshire in July.
Team Captain, former Typhoon pilot, James McMillan, was delighted to have completed his 100-mile challenge.
The captain said: "Having only got a road bike last year, I have to admit the idea of riding 100 miles in one day is pretty daunting! Like a lot of people have discovered during lockdown, I have found the ability to go out for a ride has been key to my well-being and it has been wonderful exploring on my bike.
“When the opportunity came up to take part in fundraising for the RAF Benevolent Fund, it seemed like a fantastic opportunity to promote the upcoming bike ride by doing the challenge ahead of the main event and raise money for the charity so close to our hearts.
"The RAF Benevolent Fund supports the RAF family with a variety of services including mental wellbeing, which is so important during this time.
“I hope that our efforts and achievements will inspire those who will be cycling the same routes in Lincolnshire in July.
"On behalf of the Blades and 2Excel Aviation, it’s been a real honour to participate in the fund’s fundraising challenge. A huge well done to the team and a heart-felt thanks to those who have donated to the cause so far.”
On completing the ride, the team had raised over £4,300 to support the life-changing work carried out by the RAF Benevolent Fund.
RAF Benevolent Fund spokesperson, Hemma Gooljar, said: “What a feat! Year after year, the Blades team go above and beyond to support the RAF Benevolent Fund, and this challenge epitomised that dedication perfectly. Their participation in our inaugural Dambusters Ride has raised vital funds, which will enable us to support the RAF Family, practically, emotionally and financially.
“The team should feel awfully proud of not only their monumental efforts, but the very fitting tribute they have paid to the brave men of Bomber Command who made the ultimate sacrifice on the Dambusters raid 78 years ago and throughout the Second World War.
“On behalf of everyone at the Fund, and all of our beneficiaries, I’d like to say a huge thank to you to the team – congratulations on what you have achieved and thank you for helping us be there for RAF personnel, then, now and always.”