Cycling 5,600 miles for RAF welfare cause

A servicemen based at RAF College Cranwell has pledged to cycle 5,600 miles this year to raise funds for charity, while also paying tribute to those who took part in the Dambusters raid.
Riding 5,600 miles for charity, Wg Cdr Mike Ainsworth.Riding 5,600 miles for charity, Wg Cdr Mike Ainsworth.
Riding 5,600 miles for charity, Wg Cdr Mike Ainsworth.

Wg Cdr Mike Ainsworth, 55, of RAF College Cranwell, will be covering the distance on the road and on a turbo trainer in aid of the RAF Benevolent Fund, the RAF’s leading welfare charity.

Mike, from Barkston, said: “I wanted to set myself a big challenge as I’m an experienced cyclist, so I settled on 5,600 miles. This represents 100 miles for each crew member from the eight Lancaster bombers that did not return from the Dambusters raid. I’m also turning 56 this year, which makes my target especially fitting!

“I’ve been in the Royal Air Force for 35 years, so the RAF Benevolent Fund is a cause very close to my heart. I grew up on RAF bases as my parents both served and one of my earliest memories is watching The Dam Busters film at RAF Halton as a young boy, so I’m honoured to be paying tribute to those who risked their lives in the Dambusters raid.”

Part of the effort will include the Dambusters Ride on May 15, a 100-mile ride in Lincolnshire created by the RAF Benevolent Fund to celebrate the 100th birthday of Sqn Ldr George ‘Johnny’ Johnson, the last surviving member of the Dambusters raid.

Mike plans to take part in four 100-mile rides on consecutive days, one for each dam attacked in the raid.

Lisa Hunt, regional fundraiser at the RAF Benevolent Fund, said: “Mike is going the extra mile – quite literally – in his fundraising efforts this year, and we are beyond grateful for his support. By taking part in the Dambusters Ride, he will honour Johnny’s life and service and other members of 617 Squadron. Thanks to people like Mike, we will be able to continue supporting the whole of the RAF family practically, emotionally and financially for years to come.”

You can follow Mike’s progress and sponsor him via his fundraising page:

To learn more about how you can get involved in the Dambusters Ride, visit