Comic Relief March-a-mile

Royal Air Force recruits have raised well over £1000 for Comic Relief by marching-a-mile at RAF Halton, Buckinghamshire.

Just under 150 recruits formed up on the Henderson Parade Square at RAF Halton in order of seniority, from recruits that had been in training for just 2 days to those that had just 4 days left before graduation. They were given the ‘quick-march’ order by the Station Commander, Group Captain Simon Harper.

Corporal Dave Lockey, an Instructor at Halton who organised the event said: “I was given the task of raising some money for the Royal Air Forces Association (RAFA), the timeline for which fell over Comic Relief. As we are the home of RAF Drill I thought marching was a good idea.”

Marching is a uniquely military activity and one of the first things that a new recruit will learn how to do. Station Warrant Officer, Warrant Officer George Mifsud said: “The reason that drill (marching) is taught is to enable an individual, or a body of personnel to transit in a smart and uniformed manner.  It also develops teamwork, unit cohesion and reinforces individual discipline.”

The basic recruit training course at RAF Halton is a carefully structured nine-week course that builds robustness, resilience, discipline, respect and integrity amongst a raft of other military skills.

Corporal Lockey said: “One of the core values of the RAF that we teach to recruits is ‘Service before self’. Charity work is an excellent way to drive home that frame of mind whilst also helping both the local and wider community in which we live and work.”

One of the airmen on the march was Aircraftsman Paul Marine (25) from Hampshire who is part of McTeague Flight. A fireman before he joined the RAF, Paul intends to be an RAF firefighter after training. He said: “When you’re doing charity work you’re not just helping others, you’re developing yourself also.”

Joining Paul on the march was Aircraftswoman Megan Coulter (20) from Merseyside, who joined the RAF to be a Logistics (Mover). She said: “We’re raising money for RAFA and Comic Relief. We’ve been competing between Intakes to raise the most money; I’m pretty sure my Intake, Beckett, will win!” Megan is due to graduate from basic training in just a few days time and will move to RAF Brize Norton to undertake her professional training.

Megan and Paul are just two of the recruits that Corporal Lockey has taught during Basic Training. He said: “When these airmen and women go out on Operations after graduating from training and they need welfare or support they need to know that someone back home is there for them, like RAFA and other charities.”

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