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Lads 'N' Dads Embark on Charity Tour de France

Published: 17 May 2015   updated: 28 May 2015

Like father, like son. A team of 10 cyclists have been finding out if that's really the case as they complete a sponsored cycle ride with a difference.

The party, six serving personnel from RAF Benson plus the fathers of four of them, set out on May 28 on a Lads 'n' Dads tour of Great War battlefield sites, making their way from Benson to Paris. The route has taken the group to the Runnymede RAF Memorial in Surrey, Amiens and the Somme, the Thiepval Memorial and other sites, including a visit to the D-Day landing sites at Dieppe, before pedalling on to the French capital. 

Altogether they expect to have covered around 350 miles in just five days of cycling, with Wg Cdr Toby Sawbridge, Officer Commanding  230 Sqn, joining them along the route.

Speaking before the off, Sqn Ldr Ryan Morris said: "The cycle ride is just one of a series of fund-raising challenges which we've set ourselves, aiming to raise £25,000 over 12 months to be shared between the three key RAF charities, which include the RAF Charitable Trust."

After completing their marathon, the team were looking forward to being entertained by the Defence Attaché, Air Commodore Paul Lyall, in the evening as a special way to round off the event.

Ryan explains: "Air Cdre Lyall was Station Commander at Benson between 2006 and 2008. He and his wife Lynn will be meeting us at the Eiffel Tower, then hosting a celebratory evening at which I'll present him with a bottle of 28 Sqn commemorative port."

He adds: "We expect this event to have been a huge challenge: enjoyable, emotional at times, and incredibly rewarding.  The age range of the participants spanned over 40 years, and one has a significant disability, but we hope everyone will have crossed the finish line at the Eiffel Tower together by the time you read this."

To date the fund-raising amounts to over £10,000, raised through dinner nights, auctions, the sale of commemorative port, charity parties and sponsored half-marathons. 

Amanda Butcher, Director of the RAF Charitable Trust, said: ""This is an ambitious project and we have been following their progress since the idea was first conceived.  The team at Benson are great supporters of the RAF Charitable Trust and the money raised through their endeavours will help us to continue to support RAF personnel during the coming year."

If anyone would like to support the sponsored event, please visit the website here.

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