A TEAM of high-flying fundraisers are cycling 400 miles from Leamington towards the east of Dortmund in Germany in tribute to the Dambusters.
Simon Storey, an ex-serving RAF pilot from Leamington, and his team plan to complete their fundraising ride at one of the notoriously bombed dams of 617 Squadron, Mohne Dam, during this years’ 80th anniversary of Operation Chastise.
The team consists of Struan Marshall, Craig Pattison, Bob Barba, Harry Bromage, Chris Taylor, Chris Wade and driver Nigel Prothero.
This fundraiser will be the fourth in an increasing number of ambitious rides that Simon has planned alongside his friends over the years raising an impressive £35,000 for numerous charities including the RAF Benevolent Fund, the RAF’s leading welfare charity.
Significant to the birthplace of AJ-Z Pilot Henry Maudslay, 39-year-old Simon will be starting the ride off from his hometown on May 13, and will travel 100 miles towards the Petwood Hotel in Woodhall Spa, Lincolnshire, for the RAF Benevolent Fund’s annual heritage Dambusters Ride. Simon and team will complete their challenge on the May 16 at Mohne Dam.
Simon said: “This challenge is special because I have a real interest in military history – it is something that I enjoyed sharing with my dad. The Dambusters, A Bridge Too Far and The Great Escape were favourite films of ours along with many books we used to read.
“One of my friends who is also riding has RAF links too – his uncle was a flight engineer on a Lancaster during the war.
“Over the years I have organised many challenge rides where friends have joined me and we’ve raised over £35,000 to date.”
The annual Dambusters Ride pays tribute to the Dambusters, members of the RAF’s 617 Squadron who were assembled to bomb three dams in Germany’s Ruhr Valley on the night of May 16 to 17 1943 – also known as Operation Chastise.
This year marks 80 years since the risky raid, in which the revolutionary bouncing bomb, the brainchild of engineer Barnes Wallis, was dropped at low level on Germany’s industrial heartland in the Ruhr Valley. The mission was a success, but the cost was high – of 133 aircrew who left, 53 were killed and three became prisoners of war.
For more information on the Dambusters Ride visit rafbf.org/ride