June 3, 2022 7.00 am

Three generations join forces for RAF charity cycling event

Family business for a good cause

A Squadron Leader at RAF College Cranwell will be joined by his father-in-law and teenage daughter on a bike ride for an air force charity.

The Reverend Dr Chris Hodder, who is the Station Chaplain at RAF College Cranwell, will be taking part in RAFA Rides 2022 with his 13-year-old daughter Emily and father-in-law Geoff Fitzjohn, 69, on Saturday, June 11.

RAFA Rides was created to allow people across the world to join together, both in person and remotely, in support of the RAF community, and it will be the second time Chris takes part in the event.

Those who take part in RAFA Rides will get to choose from four distances ranging from 25 to 100 miles, taking place in Leicestershire, Rutland and Northamptonshire.

Emily and her grandad Geoff will be doing the 25 mile route in tandem, while Chris takes on the longest route of 100 miles.

A fundraiser has been set up in line with the charity ride, with Chris aiming to raise £500 for the Royal Air Forces Association. At the time of reporting the total stands at £242 and you can donate by visiting the JustGiving page here.

The 2021 event saw 810 riders from all over the globe take part, including 250 who cycled through the Leicestershire and Rutland countryside, with the rest joining virtually from 20 countries across six continents.

Speaking about the upcoming event, Padre Chris said: “I wanted to raise money for an RAF charity, as I have seen up close what a great support they are to those in need.

“This is my second year doing RAFA Rides, and this year I will be tackling the longest route. I still consider myself to be a novice cyclist, but I really wanted to challenge myself this time.

“I’ll be riding with two friends from RAF Waddington and we already know what our biggest challenge will be – getting back on our bikes after rest stops!

“This will be especially difficult, as I believe the 3 Squadron Mobile Catering unit from RAF Wittering will be there again. They did a great job of providing refreshments last year – maybe too great!”

Emily is also looking forward to the ride, saying: “Grandad and I are doing the 25-mile route, so not as far as Dad, but I think it will still be a challenge for us both. I’m looking forward to going out with my grandad – I love going on cycle rides with him.

“We like going round the villages near where he lives. Sometimes when I talk a lot I wonder if he has purposely switched off his hearing aid! I am also looking forward to seeing my uncle, who’s riding with us, and then watching my dad struggle in after his ride.”