I served in the RAF for 24 and a bit years, man and boy, starting before I was 16 years of age at the No 1 Radio School RAF Locking and finishing some 15 days after my 40th birthday, the extra time needed because I'd managed to spend some of my resettlement time in Hospital, so had to add it on after my birthday to complete the 22 years pensionable service. Since leaving the RAF I have worked out in the great big world of business, variously as a sales engineer, Logistics Manager and Engineering and Operations Manager. Since 2006 my wife and I have been full time fundraisers, raising money for BBC Children in Need and Barnardo's, but that story is well documented elsewhere on this website.
During 2012 I was idly chatting on Twitter, sorry if you don't know what that is, and I saw a Tweet from the lovely Cerys, the Wales and West Fundraiser for the RAF Benevolent Fund, she was looking for volunteers to help with bucket collections at Cardiff Airport over the summer months. Being as I had some spare time, I willingly volunteered to help. I asked if she wanted me to see if I could round up some more volunteers from the Ex RAF people I knew, and to cut a long story short, Cerys is a very busy person, so I took on the organisation of the schedule and volunteers, and spent a lot of time at Cardiff Airport that summer with a lot of help from my wife and some other great helpers. All were glad to help, with maybe an exception for the time I got them to the airport for 3:30am, but that was only a couple of times! We met some great people, most were happy to throw some money in our buckets and stop for a chat, particularly those who said they had had a relative in the RAF, or still serving! There was the odd exception, but we just let them pass by! Even the odd marine, soldier or sailor gave us some cash, and I was delighted to chat to Mark Lawrenson, the Match of the Day pundit, who was commuting back and fore for the Olympic Football at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff. Thanks Mark for the donation as well!
All in all the people travelling off on their holidays were very generous and we raised the most of any charity who had collected at the airport, something we were really pleased about.
This year we were invited to the RAFBF Awards night and, beforehand met the other fundraisers and people who make the Charity work, and it surprised us that so much is raised, with only a very small staff to go round. No wonder Cerys, and all the other regional fundraisers are so busy. So, my wife and I decided we would carry on helping out if we could, and I put forward a proposal that we could run a "marathon" with a twist in aid of the fund, along the lines of the TOGs Marathon that we organise for BBC Children in Need.
That's how I got here, and I am delighted that The RAF Benevolent Fund agreed to let us go ahead with maRAFon 2014 which raised over £2,200!
We have some more ideas in mind for going forward, including maybe maRAFon 2015! I do hope we can carry on raising money for this wonderful cause!