Thursday, July 25, 2024

Grantham super cycler completes epic challenge for Dambusters 80th anniversary

To mark the 80th anniversary of the Dambusters Raid, two members of Grantham’s cycling club, the Witham Wheelers, took part in a huge challenge to raise money for several charities including the RAF’s leading welfare charity, the RAF Benevolent Fund.

Lincolnshire-based Wing Commander Mike Ainsworth and his teammate Lieutenant Colonel Ian Astley rode to the Dams via the crash sites and the graves of the airmen who paid the ultimate sacrifice on the Raid.

The group’s ride to the dams took place after the RAF Benevolent Fund’s Heritage Ride out of Woodhall Spa on 13 May 2023. They crossed over to the Netherlands on the overnight Ferry after the Heritage Ride, then cycled over 600 miles in seven days, visiting the eight crash sites, 47 graves in five cemeteries, and three of the dams. Fittingly, the route visited the Commonwealth War Graves Commission’s Reichswald Forest War Cemetery, where the majority of 617 Squadron’s casualties from the raid are buried on the 80th Anniversary of their sacrifice.

The challenge follows on from the cycle fundraiser Mike did in 2021 to mark the 100th birthday of the then last surviving Dambuster Squadron Leader George ‘Johnny’ Johnson, where Mike rode over 5,600 miles to raise money for the Fund.

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 16-17 May 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.

Mike said: “I take part in the Dambusters Ride every year – throughout my RAF career, I’ve always felt safe in the knowledge that the RAF Benevolent Fund would be there for me if times got tough. I’ve seen first-hand the incredible support they give not only to serving personnel but also to RAF veterans and their families, so it’s important for me to support the charity.”

He added: “This year is particularly poignant as I’m also doing the ride in memory of Johnny Johnson, the last surviving Dambuster, who passed away last December. He was such an inspiration and will be missed dearly.”

The Dambusters Ride consists of two elements: a Virtual Ride on the weekend of 20-21 May and a Heritage Ride that took place in Lincolnshire on Saturday 13 May.

A message from the Editor:

Thank you for reading this story on our news site - please take a moment to read this important message:

As you know, our aim is to bring you, the reader, an editorially led news site and magazine but journalism costs money and we rely on advertising, print and digital revenues to help to support them.

With the Covid-19 pandemic having a major impact on our industry as a whole, the advertising revenues we normally receive, which helps us cover the cost of our journalists and this website, have been drastically affected.

As such we need your help. If you can support our news sites/magazines with either a small donation of even £1, or a subscription to our magazine, which costs just £27.55 per year, (inc p&P and mailed direct to your door) your generosity will help us weather the storm and continue in our quest to deliver quality journalism.

As a subscriber, you will have unlimited access to our web site and magazine. You'll also be offered VIP invitations to our events, preferential rates to all our awards and get access to exclusive newsletters and content.

Just click here to subscribe and in the meantime may I wish you the very best.

Advertisment












Latest posts

Communities share in a further £270,000 funding round

Community projects, sports clubs, parish councils, and village halls have been given a share in £270,000 through Lincolnshire Community Foundation's Grassroots scheme. The scheme has...

Lincoln’s London Camera Exchange welcomes new models from CANON with pre-order deal

Lincoln's London Camera Exchange is preparing to offer the recently annouced new models from CANON, with a half price Lexor 128GB CF Express card...

Charity Ball raises over £5,000 for Lincs & Notts Air Ambulance

A huge thank you has been given to Michelle, Amber and Sarah for holding a charity ball at the Bentley Hotel, Lincoln, in memory...

Lincolnshire fat-fighting footballers raise funds for charity

Men in Scunthorpe and Boston participating in an FA-accredited football-based weight loss programme have continued their charitable fundraising efforts by raising £2,000 between them...

Council remains committed to exploring cinema for Sleaford

North Kesteven District Council is continuing to explore opportunities to invest in a refreshed vision for the Heart of Sleaford, centred on renewed aspirations to...

By continuing to use the site, you agree to the use of cookies. more information

The cookie settings on this website are set to "allow cookies" to give you the best browsing experience possible. If you continue to use this website without changing your cookie settings or you click "Accept" below then you are consenting to this.

Close