Article from the Reserve Forces & Cadets’ Association (RFCA) for Yorkshire and The Humber website, 11 April 2013.
The Proclaimers Celebrate Ex Raf Gunner Reaching 500 Miles In Wheelchair Mission
SCOTTISH singing duo Charlie and Craig Reid – aka The Proclaimers – were at RAF Church Fenton recently to help wheelchair fundraiser Sean Allerton celebrate passing the 500 mile barrier on his epic charity mission, “Push 500”. Sean has been racking up the miles in his wheelchair to raise money for the RAF Benevolent Fund, the Royal Air Force Association, the RAF Charitable Trust, Aerobility, Flying Scholarships for the Disabled and The Forgotten Heroes.
Sean, 46, was paralysed in an accident whilst serving as a Gunner with 34 Sqn RAF Regiment in Cyprus in 1993. He broke his neck which meant losing the use of his legs and torso. Being confined to a wheelchair hasn’t got in the way of him leading a very active life. Sean is learning to fly, is doing a degree in history and enjoys a number of sports including fencing.
Sean set himself the Push 500 wheelchair challenge to give something back to the charities that helped him the most while he was coming to terms with his life-changing situation. His epic wheelchair journey was completed around a number of RAF stations, including Church Fenton which is near his home in Sherburn in Elmet, but also at RAF Benson, RAF Scampton and RAF Honington.
His charity challenge was inspired by the iconic Proclaimers song “500 miles”. To celebrate Sean’s achievements they travelled down from Edinburgh to accompany him on a rain, sleet and windswept “final mile” around RAF Church Fenton. They also performed an acoustic set at RAF Church Fenton for Sean and his supporters. Officer cadets from Yorkshire Universities Air Squadron (YUAS), based at RAF Church Fenton have been instrumental in helping Sean achieve his goal, providing logistical and practical back-up during all of his gruelling distance sessions in his wheelchair.
Sean said: “I’ve been totally humbled by the kindness and generosity of people. To have The Proclaimers come and trek around the airfield with me, and then perform live here at Church Fenton with all my supporters and friends from Yorkshire UAS has been amazing. I’d like to thank them and also everyone who has helped me on my first 500 miles. I’m now moving on to the return leg – another 500 miles – so watch this space!”
More information on Sean Allerton can be found at www.push500.com