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Grantham Wing Commander shortlisted for RAF charity award

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A Grantham Wing Commander has been shortlisted for the RAF Benevolent Fund awards.

Mike Ainsworth, of Grantham, has been shortlisted in the ‘Above and Beyond’ category at the 2022 RAF Benevolent Fund’s annual awards.

The Wing Commander has been selected following not only his fantastic support of the Fund’s inaugural The Dambuster’s Ride by helping to plan the route and organise training rides and support for participants, but also taking on the whopping 5,600-mile challenge himself in 2021.

Wing Commander Mike Ainsworth (57193910)
Wing Commander Mike Ainsworth (57193910)

The 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 May 16 and 17, 1943 – also known as Operation Chastise. It was a risky raid, dropping the revolutionary bouncing bomb at low level, and the cost was high. Of 133 aircrew who flew, 53 were killed and three became prisoners of war.

The RAF Benevolent Fund’s ‘Above and Beyond’ award recognises those who have gone the extra mile to raise funds for the RAF Benevolent Fund’s veterans and their families.

Wing Commander Ainsworth said: “Being shortlisted for the award means so much, as it recognises the hard work of so many people involved in the Dambusters Ride, including the inspirational Lisa Hunt and the team from the RAF Benevolent Fund, the Petwood Hotel, in Woodhall Spa, which hosted the main event and my family who supported me on my own challenge, alongside Jules and Chris who acted as support for my longer rides.

“But especially it recognises our hundreds of incredible riders around the world who pushed themselves to raise funds in the Dambusters Ride. From current members of 617 Squadron who completed the challenge on exercise bikes whilst embarked on HMS Queen Elizabeth, people like Vron and Kelly, who did not even own bikes when they signed up for the challenge but went from being novice cyclists to complete the challenge, to Roy the nephew of one of the air crew from the raid, who carried a piece of AJ-T with him on the challenge.”

The RAF Benevolent Fund Awards is now in its 10th year, celebrating the outstanding contributions of the fundraisers, volunteers and partners who support the charity. The 2022 awards will take place on Thursday, June 9, at Plaisterers’ Hall in London.

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