RAF Website 10 Oct 12

Article from the RAF website, 10 October 2012.

RAF Wheelchair Challenge

Chief Of The Air Staff Joins Charity Wheelchair Challenge
The Chief of the Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal Sir Stephen Dalton, joined ex-RAF Regiment Gunner, Sean Allerton, yesterday at Royal Air Force Benson airfield for a leg of his Push 500 Challenge.

Push 500 is a 500-mile wheelchair challenge started by former-Senior Aircraftman Sean Allerton to raise funds for a number of charities close to his heart: the Royal Air Force Association, Royal Air Force Benevolent Fund, The Royal Air Force Charitable Trust, Flying Scholarships for Disabled People, Aerobility, and The Forgotten Heroes. Sean, 47 of Sherburn-in-Elmet, has been confined to a wheelchair since breaking his neck in a motorcycle accident whilst serving at RAF Akrotiri in Cyprus in 1993. He chose the charities as each helped him come to terms with his life-changing situation.

The Push 500 was inspired by a famous Proclaimers song and the band joined him five months ago to help launch his challenge. Yesterday Sean broke through the half way point when he completed mile 251 and mile 252 on the airfield at RAF Benson. He was supported and escorted by Air Chief Marshal Dalton as well as Wing Commander Victoria Gosling (RAF Benson’s Acting Station Commander), several support staff and current serving RAF Regiment personnel.

Sean explained, “One of the charities I was speaking with had the Proclaimers as patrons so I just had to do 500 miles in my wheelchair!”

In 2011 Sean was awarded a scholarship by Flying Scholarships for Disabled People, a charity that is wholeheartedly supported by the Chief of the Air Staff. Indeed, Sir Stephen was joined by HRH Prince Faisal of Jordan, the charity’s Patron, to award ‘wings’ to Sean and other scholars earlier this year. This was an even more amazing feat as Sean’s injuries not only left him confined to a wheelchair but also with no grip in his hands, making even every day activities more difficult let alone learning to fly and managing to fly solo!

Air Chief Marshal Dalton was honoured to be able to support Sean in his challenge. He said: “Given everything that has happened to Sean, you might expect him to have the worries of the world on his shoulders. But not Sean! He is a great advocate for the support he has received and is truly inspirational.”

Sean was clearly moved by the support he has received since starting his challenge. On completion of the two miles Sean addressed the personnel that had gathered to cheer him on: “It’s you lot I’m doing this for, so, thank you! Hopefully you’ll never need the RAF Benevolent Fund, but if you do they are there for you. It’s people like yourselves that support the fundraising. Thank you. I can’t say it enough!”

Editor: Ms Nikki Hamilton

Photographs: CAS joins Station Commander for push 500.

RAF/MOD Crown Copyright 2012