Air force taking on a charity challenge

A charity run for the NSPCC will take Royal Air Force members from the 99 squadron back to their roots in Yatesbury.

The squadron, which operates C17 heavy-lift transport aircraft, is based at RAF Brize Norton but was first formed at Yatesbury in 1917 as a bomber squad during the First World War.

The run, organised by flight operations manager Sergeant Marc Cowling, will start at Yatesbury and cover the 39-mile journey back to Oxfordshire.

Sgt Cowling, who has been a member of the RAF for 17 years, said there would be three teams of ten to cover the distance between them.

Last summer he raised £1,000 for the NSPCC through a 24-hour snooker marathon and he hopes to raise £2,000 this time.

Ten per cent of the amount raised will be donated to the Royal Air Forces’ Association, which provides support to serving and retired members.

Sgt Cowling, who has a five-month-old daughter Rosie, said the children’s charity was a cause close to his heart.

He said: “You just think a little more about children when you’re a parent.

“The NSPCC is a charity that helps provide invaluable support to many vulnerable children. The work they do is truly amazing and changes lives.”

He hopes to get at least 30 other people signed up for the run, including RAF personnel at Brize Norton from outside the squadron and has already enlisted the help of Wing Commander Stuart Lindsell, officer in command of the 99 Squadron, and Group Captain Stephen Lushington, station commander of RAF Brize Norton.

Sgt Cowling said: “There are a lot of proactive people on the squadron who like doing things for charity.”

The event is on March 27. To donate, visit www.justgiving.com/ Marc-Cowling1

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