Flying high for the RAF Benevolent Fund

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For some, a passion for the Armed Forces starts at a young age. Going beyond the call of duty for a five-year-old, Jacob Newson and his dad are raising funds for the Armed Forces community.

Coming from a military family, it is no surprise that Jacob Newson is in awe of the Armed Forces. Jacob, who has a passion for the Royal Air Force (RAF), has raised £6,500 alongside his father, Andy, and he is now preparing to embark on a mission to continue raising funds for serving and ex- service personnel.

SALUTE

Having always loved planes, it was a dream come true for Jacob when attending the Royal International Air tattoo, the Red Arrows lined up to salute him.

“When we attended the show in 2018, Jacob was walking around in his flying suit,” explains Jacob’s dad, Andy, who previously served in the Territorial Army. “Every time he saw anyone in uniform, he’d salute them and for whatever reason he didn’t get many salutes back. So, he was a little bit upset by that.”

Hearing about his story, the team at RAF Lossiemouth got in touch to arrange a surprise Jacob would never forget.

“We thought he’d get a picture with one of the Red Arrows’ aircraft, but all the Red Arrows had heard about Jacob’s story and surprised him, lined up in numerical order and simultaneously saluted him,” Andy remembers.

When we came away from that, Jacob was really excited and hadn’t stopped talking about it. We came up with the idea that we’d get Jacob to do some fundraising for them.”

CHALLENGE

Trying to find the perfect balance between something Jacob could reasonably tackle, while also making it a challenge, the pair settled on climbing Pen-y-ghent in Yorkshire.

“He got to the top in no time at all and walked the rest of the way back down,” says Andy. “It was 6.5 miles all-round and I don’t think he’s ever walked that far in his life – I was really surprised. He ran the last section and there were loads of people clapping, it was just amazing.”

Their efforts have raised £6,500 for the RAF Benevolent Fund, a charity that supports serving members of the RAF, veterans and their families.

FUTURE

Following such a huge challenge, the pair are deserving of a well-earned break, but that’s not what they think: their adventure for 2020 is already in place.

“We’ve decided to make it an annual thing.” Andy enthuses. “Next year, because it’s the 80th anniversary of the evacuation of Dunkirk, we’re going to represent Alan Deere, an RAF pilot who was shot down at Dunkirk and crash-landed on the beach in Belgium. He travelled all the way to Dunkirk, evacuated, and went on to fight in the Battle of Britain.

“We’re going to walk the route from the point where he crash-landed his spitfire, right through to where he was evacuated at Dunkirk. It’s about 25km, but we’re going to do it over two days and spend the night on the beach like the British Army did 80 years ago.”

It is clear Jacob’s love for the RAF and fundraising could see a future member of the ranks in the making.

Visit the RAF Benevolent Fund (www.rafbf.org) to see how the charity can support you, or follow Jacob and Andy’s adventures on Twitter (@Jacob_The_Pilot).

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