In May, a team of walkers completed the 210-mile Severn Way footpath in aid of the RAF Association.
71 (IR) Squadron has raised various amounts of money for several charities over the years and this year the RAF Valley Aircraft Repair Hub volunteered to plan and organise the Squadron’s annual charity event, with the RAF Association as one of the beneficiaries.
The team started at the source – Plynlimon plateau in mid-Wales – on 4 May and finished 10 days later at the Severn beach in Bristol.
The route, which is made up of multi-terrain footpaths, was broken down into ten stages, one per calendar day, with an average distance of 23 miles per day.
A request for volunteers was sent to all members of 71 (IR) Sqn, and members from MOD St Athan, RAF Lossiemouth, RAF Conningsby and RAF Marham all volunteered and were split into two teams – a walking team and collecting team.
The RAF Association was nominated as one of the beneficiaries because the team was made up of current serving members of the RAF who respected the hard work that the charity does for serving and ex serving RAF personnel.
Funds raised from the event were split 50/50 between the RAF Association and Help for Heroes and the money was raised mainly from collections en-route at various supermarkets.
SAC (T) Richard Tapp summarised the walk….
Day One – 4 May
We were all up nice and early on 4 May and looking forward to starting our 210.5 mile walk to Bristol. But first we had to walk 4.5 miles up a mountain to reach the source of the Severn. Although we were reminded from SAC Mike Hudson ‘it should all be downhill from here’, little did we know because the very next day the path diverted away from the river, and most of the day was spent climbing in the Welsh hills.
The next few days passed with minimal disruption apart from a stand-off with a herd of cows!
Day Seven, 10 May
Before the event we received flood warnings for the Worcester area and on this particular leg of the walk, the river bank had been flooded only two days earlier. Within the first mile we were covered up to our waist in mud and still had 23 miles to walk. It quickly became apparent that the team needed a morale boosting ice cream. So we all congregated in a local newsagent in Upton Upon Severn and were treated to a triple scoop chocolate cone!
The final straight
Before we knew it we were on our final day – Berkley to the Severn beach – the finish line was in sight. The team woke with a spring in their step and those blisters that were causing us pain seemed insignificant. We were all ready for our final push to the finish just 15.5 miles away.
We set off nice and early and as the finish grew nearer our walking pace became faster. At 2pm on 13 May we reached the finish line the Severn beach. A great sense of achievement overcame the team when we hit the finish line and every team member including the collection team felt incredibly proud of what we had all achieved!
We set a target of £16,000 at the beginning of the event. The total amount raised by 30 May 2012 was £22,401.75p with more coming in.
We would like to take this opportunity to thank every person who donated their time and money. We are sincerely humbled by people’s generosity.
This charity event could not have taken place without the support of 71(IR) Sqn and we would like to thank all who gave up their time to make this event happen.