Tornado squadron’s 16-hour no-holes-barred marathon

Proud but exhausted XV(R) Squadron golfers
Proud but exhausted XV(R) Squadron golfers

MORAY GOLF COURSE in Lossiemouth is no stranger to airmen as their jets roar close overhead to and from the adjoining RAF base.

There was a much closer landing this week however – when air and ground crew from the Lossiemouth-based XV(R) Squadron gathered on the course as part of their 100th anniversary celebrations.

It was at the crack of dawn on Friday when eight airmen ‘landed’ on the course for a marathon 25-mile journey game – determined to play one hole for each year their squadron has served the Royal Air Force.

The massive fundraising effort in aid of the Royal Air Force Benevolent Fund saw them each take 450 golf shots over the five and a half round non-stop game.

It took 16 hours for Ollie Harbridge, Dave Gallie, Gary Watt, Steven McMeeking, John Higginson, Grant Hamilton, Andrew Campbell and Stephen Munro to complete the marathon, teeing off at 4am and finally tapping in at the 18th for the final time at around 8pm.

A proud chairman of Team RAFBF Lossiemouth, Karen Cox, said: “It was a wonderful moment to watch the RAFBF t-shirts get closer as they approached the 18th hole for the final time.

“They all looked absolutely exhausted but some were still in high spirits and definitely earned all the sponsorship they had received. It’s always incredible to see the lengths people will push themselves for the RAF Benevolent Fund, but then they all know the true value of the RAF’s leading welfare charity.”

Ollie Harbridge admitted that he was pleased to finally make it to the 19th for a well-earned pint at the end of the exhausting but highly enjoyable day on the historic links of the old course, first laid by the legendary Old Tom Morris.

Ollie added: “It was all for charity and of course there was no competition between any of the guys – except for the fact I was told the Groundcrew had beaten the Aircrew!

“The Squadron has various other fundraising events lined up for the rest of the year, including the annual ‘Lossiethon’ and a team entry in the Loch Ness Marathon.

“More recently Emma Zweig and Rebecca Scott took part in Team RAFBF Lossiemouth’s Cairngorm to Coast challenge – the only team to finish the event of 19 starters!”

Friday’s effort will go some way to helping the Squadron achieve its ambition of raising £15,000 for the RAFBF this year.