RAF Police Officer, Danielle (Danni) Oliver, based in Bedfordshire, has entered the London Marathon in April to raise funds for SSAFA, the Armed Forces charity.
She is running in memory of her childhood friend, Senior Aircraftman Tom Pattison, who died in a motorbike crash in 2016.
“Tom was one of my best friends. We wanted to join up together after A-levels, Tom did, but I didn’t as I pursued other passions. Speaking to Tom’s Commanding Officer and friends at his funeral made me realise what it meant to be in the Armed Forces. The ethos, the friendships and the sense of belonging, along with the adventure was something I wanted from a career too. It was at that point I made my decision to join up. Running the marathon in memory of Tom allows me to do something positive to show my gratitude to SSAFA for the support they gave to his family and colleagues at such a difficult time.”
Danni was working with horses as a Head Groom on an international show jumping yard when she found out about Tom’s death,
“I was driving the lorry back from a show jumping tour in the South of France. I couldn’t believe it at first. It was a devastating moment.”
Danni, who grew up in Frome, Sommerset, where Tom’s family still live, chose to run for SSAFA because she has seen the great work it does for service people and their families.
“Being a current serving RAF Police officer I see, first-hand, the support given to our personnel. A lot of victims I speak to have been helped by someone from SSAFA. I have worked alongside SSAFA while doing community policing and seen their hard work, dedication and their above and beyond approach to welfare. I currently work for digital forensics, and am often exposed to difficult and harrowing content. Knowing that SSAFA is there to support us if we need it is very comforting.”
While Danni is enjoying the training, she is struggling with the fundraising aspect. SSAFA runners must raise a total of £2500 to cover their entry costs and raise money for the charity.
“I have a little team of marathon runners at work so we challenge each other and help with morale. The training is a lot easier than the fundraising. With the cost of living crisis everyone is short of extra money, but we have got some interesting ways to raise funds and hopefully I’ll get there in the end.”
If you would like to help Danni reach her fundraising target by giving direct to her chosen charity, please follow this link: https://2023tcslondonmarathon.enthuse.com/pf/danni-oliver
If you would like to sign up for the London marathon in 2024: https://www.ssafa.org.uk/support-us/challenge-events/run/tcs-london-marathon-2024