Moray motorcycle team hit the road in 3000-mile challenge

Mark Ratcliffe plans the ‘Long Way Around’.

A team of four airmen inspired by the Star Wars actor Ewan McGregor will set out from Moray this morning on a 3000-mile challenge.

McGregor and his friend Charley Boorman famously took to their motorcycles with a camera crew in tow for the ‘Long Way Round’ challenge, a 19,000 mile epic from ride from London to New York.

While the Moray team’s challenge may not be quite so ambitious it will carried out without the support the actor had as it wends its way around 39 military installations, taking in Navy, Army and US Air Force bases as well as RAF stations.

Flight Sergeant Mark Ratcliffe, Corporal David Thorne, SAC Jack Yardley and former Chief Technician Andy Reed aim to raise £10,000 for the RAF Benevolent Fund.

All being well their marathon journey will end on Sunday, September 7 when they arrive at the Highland Military Tattoo.

“We’ve been keen motorcyclists for years and thought it would be a great challenge to visit all the active and many of the historic Stations in the country,” Mark Ratcliffe said, adding: “When we started planning this trip it was an easy choice to fundraise for the RAF Benevolent Fund.

“They really do help the whole RAF family, whether you’re serving in the north of Scotland at RAF Lossiemouth or at RAF Valley in Wales, if you’re still in uniform or if you retired 70 years ago.”

The team have received valuable backing from local craft brewers Windswept Brewing which has helped them raise around £1700 even before they set out today.

Mike Neville, Director of Fundraising at the RAF Benevolent Fund said: “Few people realise the extent of the work the RAF Benevolent Fund does; last year we spent almost £750,000 to aid serving personnel and their families at in Scotland.

“Without the funds raised by our supporters, up and down the country, we simply could not deliver the wide range of services and support we do.”

Members of the public can show their support for the team by visiting their fundraising web page.

Further information and regular updates can be found on the Team RAFBF Lossiemouth Facebook page.

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