Ex-paratrooper to visit four Lincolnshire RAF bases as part of 100-mile challenge

Jeffrey Long with the Mayor of Bradford Councillor Zafar Ali. Photo: Mike Simmonds
Jeffrey Long with the Mayor of Bradford Councillor Zafar Ali. Photo: Mike Simmonds

An ex-Paratrooper is set to visit four RAF bases in Lincolnshire as part of a challenge to mark the centenary of the RAF and also raise money for charity.

Jeffrey Long, 86, is preparing to walk 100 miles to honour the RAF centenary and raise funds for the RAF Benevolent Fund and Support our Paras at the same time. As part of his challenge, Jeffrey will visit RAF Scampton, RAF Coningsby, RAF Cranwell and RAF Waddington.

His walk begins in Catterick - the home of the Paras - on Sunday, September 16, and he intends to visit 10 RAF bases in total - walking 10 miles at each destination.

Jeffrey, who served in the Army from 1950 to 1957 before leaving due to injury, admits age had forced him to slow down in recent years.

Although he’s not carrying the heavy packs he once did, he remains as determined as ever to raise funds and awareness for the charities he loves.

He said: “The Paras have a relationship with the RAF, they are very good to us.

“They give us a flight then they show us the door!

“It made perfect sense to me to support this wonderful charity, in the year of the RAF’s centenary as well as the Paras’ charity, of course.”

Jeffrey is no stranger to challenges, and began fundraised 11 years ago when he walked 650 miles from London to Switzerland.

Since then he has completed Liverpool to Leeds, Hadrian’s Wall and the Three Peaks Challenge, to name but a few.

Last year Jeffrey’s 86-mile walk in recognition of his birthday raised £120,00.

His challenge went viral thanks to comedian Jason Manford who retweeted his appeal.

He also received a lifetime membership from the Royal British Legion, who was the main beneficiary.

Prime Minister Theresa May also recognised Jeffery’s incredible efforts with a Points of Light Award, congratulating him on his ‘long-serving support of Armed Forces charities’.

Aaron Tillyer, regional fundraiser for the RAF Benevolent Fund, said: “Fundraisers like Jeffrey are truly inspirational.

“I’m bowled over by his enthusiasm to get out there and raise funds for charity.

“Supporters like Jeffrey are vital to see the welfare work the RAF Benevolent Fund carries out continue, without it we simply could not do what we do – ensuring no member of the RAF Family faces adversity alone.”

Stephen Cooper, Director of Support our Paras, added: “We have known Jeffrey for some years at Support our Paras and he never fails to surprise us with his next charity challenge, all driven by the desire to help others less fortunate than himself.

“We take our hats off to you Jeffrey!”

Jeffrey’s itinerary (subject to change) will see him visit:

• RAF Leeming – Sunday, September 16

• RAF Scampton – Monday, September 17

• RAF Waddington – Tuesday, September 18

• RAF College Cranwell – Wednesday, September 19

• RAF Coningsby – Thursday, September 20

• RAF Marham – Friday, September 21

• RAF Wittering– Saturday, September 22

• RAF Honington – Sunday, September 23

• RAF High Wycombe – Monday, September 24

• Netheravon – Tuesday, September 25

• RAF Odiham – Tuesday, September 25

Jeffrey has set a target of reaching £1,000. To donate towards Jeffrey and his efforts, click here