Northern Scot Newspaper 25 September 2015

Article from the Northern Scot newspaper, 25 September 2015.

Sean’s a high calibre fund-raiser

Former gunner in 24-hour wheelchair challenge
By ALISTAIR WHITFIELD
a.whitfield@northern-scot.co.uk

Sean Allerton begins his challenge with members of 51 Squadron RAF Regiment, 2622 Squadron RAuxAF Regiment and RAF Benevolent Fund

Sean Allerton begins his challenge with members of 51 Squadron RAF Regiment, 2622 Squadron RAuxAF Regiment and RAF Benevolent Fund

A FORMER gunner powered himself himself in just 24 hours during a wheelchair challenge at RAF Lossiemouth.

In 1993 Sean Allerton was invalided out of the military following a road accident during a position at RAF Akrotiri in Cyprus.

He lost the use of both legs as well as the ability to grip anything with his hands – but he didn’t loose his strength of character.

Since 2012, the 50-year-old has raised more than £25,000 for charities by completing several long-distance challenges, using the flats of his palms to force his wheelchair along.

For his latest venture Sean travelled up to Moray from his home near York with a set of spare wheelchairs, so the personnel at RAF Lossiemouth could join him.

Sean said: “I can’t overstate how great everyone was at the base. Sometimes people make a fuss over you because you’re in a wheelchair, but there was one of that. I was instantly made to feel completely at home.

“Somebody or other was with me every minute of the challenge, chatting away as we went.

“One woman who’s a cook at the base managed to do 35 miles with me, which is an incredible effort for anyone not used to being in a wheelchair.

“I can honestly sati was the best challenge I’ve ever done. Thank you RAF Lossiemouth.”

As well as spare wheelchairs, Sean also brought a bottle of Glenfiddich malt with him, which was offered as a prize for the competitor who managed the fastest lap of the track set up on the tarmac.

Sean continued: “The whole event was hard work, but it made me proud to be associated with the RAF.

“The challenge isn’t just about raising funds and awareness, it’s to show what you can do if you put your mind to it.

“There is a reason we have ‘Per Ardua’ as a motto.”

Sean’s ‘Push 500’ challenge was inspired by the lyrics of The Proclaimers song.

Originally he intended to cover just 500 miles, but he kept going after reaching that total and has now completed 674 miles at various RAF  facilities up and down the UK.

The money he’s raised has been divided between the RAF Association, the RAF Benevolent Fund, the RAF Charitable Trust and Flying Scholarships for Disabled People.

Acting Warrant Officer John Ross said “It was an absolute pleasure to host Sean as well as the myriad of guests who turned up throughout the event, including the Forres air cadets and Moray paralympic athlete Jim Gault.

“The indomitable spirit displayed by Sean during his endurance event was infectious.

“He may well have left RAF Lossiemouth extremely tired, but he has the admiration of all those who turned up to support him.”