In summer 2021, the RAF Benevolent Fund launched the Dambusters Ride, a cycle challenge celebrating the centenary of George ‘Johnny’ Johnson DFM, the last surviving member of Operation Chastise, also known as the Dambusters raid. The Dambusters Ride will return in 2022 to honour those who risked their lives in the raid, and the Fund is encouraging its supporters to register for next year’s ride.
The Dambusters were members of the RAF’s 617 Squadron who were assembled in March 1943 to bomb three dams in Germany’s Ruhr Valley. The raid, which took place on the night of May 16-17, involved 133 aircrew flying 19 specially adapted Lancaster bombers.
The Dambusters Ride will take place as both a physical and virtual challenge next year. The physical Heritage Ride will take place on Saturday 14 May 2022 with a 60-mile route and a 100-mile route starting finishing at the Petwood Hotel in Woodhall Spa, Lincolnshire, the home of the Dambusters. Riders can also participate in the event virtually by completing the 60- or 100-mile distance anywhere in the world over the weekend of 7-8 May 2022.
Lisa Hunt, Regional Fundraiser at the RAF Benevolent Fund, said:
“The 2021 Dambusters Ride was an enormous success, raising more than £150,000 for the Fund. We want next year’s event to be even bigger, so we’re calling on our supporters and any eager cyclists to join the 2022 challenge. If you’re unable to make it to Lincolnshire for the main event on Saturday 14 May, please consider signing up for the virtual ride, which will allow you to complete your miles in any other location over the course of the weekend.”
For more information and to register for the ride, please visit rafbf.org/event/dambusters-ride.
Johnny Johnson said:
“The RAF Benevolent Fund does incredible work supporting RAF veterans and serving personnel and I would like to thank anyone who signs up for this cycle ride. I am grateful to have never needed the support of the Fund but nonetheless I have always known they are there for those less fortunate than I.
“Not only will this event raise vital funds to support RAF personnel, past and present, it will also pay tribute to the brave men of Bomber Command who made the ultimate sacrifice on the Dambusters raid and throughout the Second World War. Their loss must never be forgotten and it is my hope through this event, a new generation will learn about the cost of the freedom they enjoy today.”
The RAF Benevolent Fund provides financial, emotional, and practical assistance to serving and retired RAF personnel and their families. This includes grants to help with financial difficulty, free memberships for Headspace, Airplay youth clubs, and more.