Staff and residents of Marske Hall, Redcar Road, are travelling back to the 1940s on the 9th of October to salute members of the legendary RAF No. 617 ‘Dambusters’ Squadron. The squadron are raising the profile of disability in the UK as they embark on a heroic challenge to run 700 miles in just 7 days.
The endurance challenge, called the Dambusters Run, is taking place as part of the 70th anniversary commemorations of the legendary Dambusters Raids. The run will be the last UK call of action the Squadron undertake before heading off to Afghanistan for their final tour of duty.
The squadron are passing through Redcar midway through their seven day journey to RAF Lossiemouth in northern Scotland, home of the current Dambusters Squadron. The staff and residents of Marske Hall, a Leonard Cheshire Disability residential service, have a full day planned to support the runners on their route. In the morning the charity’s Chairman, Ilyas Khan – who will be running a marathon a day- will join squadron members in meeting service users and dedicated staff and volunteers, who will then cheer the runners on their way. Later in the day, local school children will be ‘evacuated’ from their classrooms to entertain the residents with traditional war-time songs.
In the afternoon, the Hall doors will be opened to the general public for a traditional tea dance. Guests will be served delicious cakes and beverages from 3-5pm and entertained by singer Janie St John who will be performing well known hits from the 1940s. Tickets are priced at £3 and are available on the door, with proceeds going to Marske Hall.
Ruth Hebden, Volunteer Co-ordinator at the service says: “We are really excited about the day and cheering the runners on in the morning. The tea dance should be a really fun afternoon for the whole community and the funds raised will help us to provide vital support and additional activities for our users”.
The Redcar celebrations are one example of festivities that will take place across the country as the run travels across the UK. The race takes place between 5 and 11 October and will help raise much-needed funds for charity Leonard Cheshire Disability.
‘Dambusters’ Squadron Leader, Mark Jackson, explained the squadron’s dedication to the cause: “Embarking on a physically gruelling race isn’t normally the first thing on the agenda following weeks of intensive military training to prepare for deployment, but disability is a cause close to anyone who has toured Afghanistan. Leonard Cheshire was a commander of our squadron during World War Two who opened his home to disabled veterans following the war.
“Our guys have seen how the charity supports disabled people today and were moved beyond words. There is no more fitting tribute than to use our strength in the Dambusters Run to repay his.”
Chairman of Leonard Cheshire Disability, Ilyas Khan, said: “It is a privilege to run alongside members of the No 617 Squadron who are giving their time and commitment to take part in our Dambusters Run. It is particularly poignant for me to be running through Lancashire, as this was home for me when I was a boy. This run continues the legacy of our founder Leonard Cheshire in the 70th year since the Dambusters raids. As we embark on this 700 mile adventure, I am looking forward to meeting many of the people who we help and support across the UK.”
For more information about the event at Marske Hall call Ruth Hebden, Volunteer Co-ordinator on 07738033041.
To sponsor the Dambusters crew, text DRun13 £3 to 70070 or visit www.lcdisability.org/dambustersrun.