Moray men take on 10,000-mile desert drive


A serious injury sustained by the wife of an airman serving at RAF Lossiemouth has prompted a 10,000-mile drive through Asia by two colleagues.

Sergeant Mike Muir and Corporal Colin Murray are set to take on the gruelling Mongol Rally to raise vital funding for Spinal Injuries Scotland.

The pair serve at 2622 (Highland) Squadron and were moved to take on the challenge when Nikki Thornley, the wife of 2622 airman Phil Thornley, was seriously injured in a car crash last year.

Nikki was left paralysed from the neck down and is still receiving treatment at Glasgow’s General Hospital’s spinal unit.

Corporal Murray, a veteran of tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, said: “The couple were going on holiday when the collision happened – it shook us all and spurred everyone to do something for the family.

“It has given us a clear purpose to complete the rally. We have raised up to £2500 so far but are expecting that to rise as we go through the trip.”

As well as the spinal injuries charity the pair hope to raise funding for Cool Earth, a charity that works alongside indigenous villages to halt rainforest destruction and is the official charity of the rally. The pair are obligated to donate £500 to this charity as part of the acceptance into the rally.

The Mongol Rally involves starts in London in July and ends in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia some 30 days later. It is 10,000 miles of pure adrenaline filled action, covering one third of the surface of the Earth.

Squadron Leader Walter Sutherland, the adjutant for 2622 Squadron, explained: “This life changing adventure will take our intrepid heroes through 17 countries, over mountains, deserts and some of the most remote, challenging terrain on the planet.

“There are no rules in the Mongol Rally, no set route, no assistance on the road, and no way to make the 11,000 mile journey in an ill-suited 1.2 Daewoo Kalos without encountering problems.

“Anyone who has met Nikki will know that she is a fighter and her determination will not let this injury prevent living her life to the fullest. Everyone on this Squadron has been touched by the tragedy that has befallen this family and is keen to help in whatever way we can.”

Sgt Muir and Cpl Murray are due to set off from RAF Lossiemouth on Friday July 18 for Battersea Park in London where the rally officially starts on two days later.

Anyone wishing to assist the airmen in their fundraising effort is invited to visit

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