Selby Post 24 May 12

Article from the Selby Post, 24 May 2012.

Proclaimers back RAF charity men
Sean (second from right) and Adam (second from left) at the launch of Push 500 with The Proclaimers, Craig and Charlie Reid.

Sean (second from right) and Adam (second from left) at the launch of Push 500 with The Proclaimers, Craig and Charlie Reid.

by Nick Towle

A disabled former serviceman is taking part in a 500-mile wheelchair push to raise money for military charities – and he’s been given a gee-up by two stars of the folk-rock world.

Ex-RAF regiment gunner Sean Allerton, from Sherburn, has teamed up with former Queen’s Dragoon guard Adam Douglas, from Leeds, in trying to complete 500 miles in a non-aided wheelchair journey.

Over the coming months the pair will pay weekly visits to RAF Church Fenton, where they will do several laps of the airfield at a time.

The charity challenge – in aid of six charities including the RAF Benevolent Fund, RAFA, the RAF Charitable Trust, Aerobility, Flying Scholarships for the Disabled and The Forgotten Heroes – was launched at the RAF base last week with a little help from Scottish singing twins The Proclaimers, whose song ‘I would walk 500 miles was a smash hit in 1988.

Sean and Adam will be emulating the iconic Proclaimers’ famous song by completing 500 miles on their wheelchairs.

The Proclaimers – Craig and Charlie Reid – are patrons of The Forgotten Heroes. They were at RAF Church Fenton to see off Sean and Adam at the start of their epic journey and add a little stardust to the momentous challenge, which they have called Push 500.

Sean (46) was paralysed in a road accident while serving with 34 Squadron RAF Regiment in Cyprus in 1993.

This left him a tetraplegic, but being confined to a wheelchair hasn’t got in the way of him leading a very active life.

After taking a disabled flying scholarship, he has learnt to fly and is working towards his pilot’s licence. He also enjoys fencing and is studying for a history degree with the Open University.

Sean decided to give something back to the charities that had helped him since his accident and so he set himself a unique challenge – to push himself 500 miles in his wheelchair.

This won’t be easy, as Sean’s paralysis affects his hands too. If that was not enough, he also intends to do at least one 24-hour shift and pull, for at least one mile, the full weight of kit and equipment that a deployed soldier would carry on patrol.

Sean said: “The Proclaimers would walk 500 miles – but I can’t walk. Thanks to these six brilliant charities I’m now in a place where I can hopefully give back a little bit.

“As soon as I heard that The Proclaimers had become patrons of The Forgotten Heroes, I knew that I would have to push myself in my wheelchair 500 miles.”

The Forgotten Heroes was set up by Adam, who was wounded in combat in Iraq in 2003.

His condition has progressively degenerated to the extent that he is now permanently disabled.

Inspired by his wife Maria, who became his carer, he set up The Forgotten Heroes to not only help injured service personnel but their families and carers too.

The Proclaimers said in a joint statement: “It’s great to be able to help the families of servicemen and women who often get forgotten.

“Sean and Adam are putting others before themselves and it’s great that our song could inspire them to do this unique challenge.”

People can donate to the causes and also find out more about the charities by visiting www.push500.com.