Passionate about veteran support, and supporting Heritage Centres, Memorials and Museums who strive to preserve the memory of the Second World War generation; I try to support as many of these as best I can through a variety of activities. Particularly enjoying running, I’ve taken part in, and now organise, an annual fundraiser to support as many relevant causes as possible.
During 2017 myself and a good friend raised over £1,000 for the International Bomber Command Centre, running in the Woodhall Spa 10k to support the Memorial prior to it’s official opening in 2018. In 2018 I was part of a team of 100 runners who collectively raised over £8,000 for the Royal Air Force Benevolent Fund, again running in the Woodhall Spa Community Road Race.
With 2020 marking the 80th Anniversary of the Battle Of Britain I wanted to do something particularly special to mark the occasion, especially with the relationships I have been lucky to forge with some of the very last of the ‘Few’. Wanting to raise awareness, recognise this historical event in the shadow of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, and to support two key memorials, I came up with the idea of running 80 miles between various Battle of Britain airfields, Memorials and significant locations across the country.
What became the event, ‘Running For The Few’, saw myself and 2 friends successfully run more than 80 miles over 5 days between 16 locations – and we raised over £8,000 to be shared between the National Memorial to the Few at Capel le Ferne, and the Kent Battle of Britain Museum at Hawkinge who had both suffered due to forced closures. We were humbled by such incredible support – including from the very last known surviving Battle of Britain pilot, Gp Cpt John Hemingway DFC! As part of our efforts, the team also visited more than 140 resting places of the ‘Few’ across numerous counties, paying our respects by laying Memorial crosses at each, and sharing their individual stories across social media platforms.
Following the success of ‘Running For The Few’, which recognised Fighter Command, I decided I also wanted to recognise the Bomber Boys. With 2021 being the 85th Anniversary of Bomber Command, I organised ‘Miles For The Many’; which would see the same team run 85 miles across Lincolnshire between various Bomber Command airfields, memorials and heritage centres.
Once again we succeeded and raised £4,000 which we decided to split between three Heritage Centres who received no public funding or Govt help during the pandemic. These being the Lincolnshire Aviation Heritage Centre, RAF Ingham Heritage Centre and the Metheringham Airfield Visitors Centre.
Again we were truly humbled by the support and hospitality as we ran between 25 different destinations across Lincolnshire – and once again we were honoured to have the support of the very last surviving Dambuster, soon to be 100 years, Sqn Ldr George ‘Johnny’ Johnson MBE, DFM!
In 2022, to further support the Kent Battle of Britain Museum and their beautiful ‘Spirit of the Few Momument’ (which our 2020 Running For The Few funds contributed towards), I ran the RAF Museum Sptifire 10km race in memory of one of the 7 Airmen of 32 Sqn being immortalised at Hawkinge.
I managed to specifically agree with the race organisers to run in the memory of Pilot Officer Keith Reginald Gillman who was killed aged just 19 on 25th August 1940 – lost in the channel near his hometown of Dover. He was the only of the seven Airmen forming the monument to be killed during the Battle of Britain. Thanks again to peoples huge genorisity, I raised a further £945 to go towards this ground-breaking monument and lasting tribute to the Few.
Alongside these events I’ve also donated hundreds of copies of my books, ‘Against Adversity’ and ‘Tomorrow May Never Come’, to various Battle of Britain and Bomber Command Museums and Centres; and auctioned various signed items which both Tom Neil and Archie McInnes supported and endorsed including books, prints and canvasses.
Looking forward to 2023’s!