RAF airmen return special gift from Afghanistan to the Oaks

Physio Kirsty Newlands, SAC (T) Pete Bailes, Nurse Alice Sutherland, Unit Manager Sandra Anderson, SAC (T) Aaron Jackson and Team Assistant Lorraine Cassidy.

A simulated journey of 3456 miles led to members of 51 Squadron RAF Regiment raising £700 for The Oaks Hospice in Elgin.

Members of the RAF Lossiemouth based squadron completed the journey while based at Camp Bastion in Afghanistan between October 2013 and May this year.

Men and women from the Headquarters Flight took on the task using treadmills, cross-trainers and rowing machines during their deployment, successfully completing a distance equivalent to the entire length of the Afghan border.

The funds were donated by other Allied forces based at Camp Bastion as well as gifts being given online – including a bottle of whisky supplied by a resident of The Oaks that was put up for auction.

Raising funds for the Hospice is, however, only part of the story as members of the squadron have been helping out around the grounds tidying up gardens and painting benches and other equipment.

Handing over a cheque to Macmillan unit nurse manager Sandra Anderson was SAC’s Peter Bailes and Aaron Jackson, who started out helping at The Oaks before their deployment to Afghanistan and wished to continue in that support during their deployment.

Peter Bailes said: “The Oaks relies purely on donations and money raised by the charity and after being shown around the centre we could see that the people that use this facility deserve as much care and comfort as possible.

“Due to a lot of the equipment costing well into the thousands we knew that we had to do what we could.”

The Oaks is a purpose-built unit aimed at the provision of specialist care and rehabilitation for individuals living in Moray and who have a cancer or other progressive illnesses. It is one element of an integrated specialist care service that compliments the existing community Macmillan Nursing Service.

Anyone wishing to donate to The Oaks can do so via their JustGiving website.

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