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25th Jun, 2021

Worcestershire veteran to take on Dambusters Ride to raise funds for the RAF Benevolent Fund

Rob George 4th Jun, 2021

A WORCESTERSHIRE veteran will be saddling up for a good cause and riding 133 miles without leaving Worcester’s Cathedral Square.

Chris Last, 59, will be completing the challenge on a turbo trainer to raise money for the RAF Benevolent Fund as part of the charity’s Dambusters Ride next Saturday (June 12).

The RAF veteran will begin his challenge at 9am and expects to finish around 5pm.

Mayor of Worcester Coun Stephen Hodgson and the Vice Lord-Lieutenant of Worcestershire, Brigadier Roger Brunt CBE DL, will be there to cheer him on.

The Dambusters Ride is taking place this year to celebrate the 100th birthday of Squadron Leader George ‘Johnny’ Johnson DFM, the last surviving Dambuster.

Operation Chastise was a pivotal moment during the Second World War when 19 Lancaster crews targeted three dams in the heart of Germany’s war machine. It was a risky raid, dropping the revolutionary bouncing bomb at low level, and the cost was high. Of 133 crew who left only 53 returned.

“I was inspired to sign for the Dambusters Ride as I took up road cycling during the lockdown. I still have a close connection with the military through my day-to-day work, so it’s a cause that remains close to my heart,” Chris said.

“I wanted to raise as much money as possible and thought what better way than holding a public event here in Worcester. I’m hoping to plan a number of similar events in the local area before I take part in the physical Dambusters Ride in July, so do keep your eyes peeled.”

The Dambusters Ride consists of two key elements: a virtual ride that took place on May 15/16, the anniversary of the raid, and a physical event taking place in Lincolnshire on July 3.

On 15 May Chris cycled 125 miles on a static bike outside Worcester Cycle Centre at part of the virtual ride, and on 17 May he joined a two-wheeled ‘flypast’ in front of Johnny Johnson in tribute to the Dambusters raid that took place 16-17 May 1943. The 12-strong group cycled 19 miles before arriving in Bristol – one mile for each of the Lancaster crews which flew in Operation Chastise, 78 years ago.

Chris served in the Royal Air Force for 22 years before joining the Ministry of Defence as a civil servant in 2001, and today he works for defence and logistics specialists TVS Supply Chain Solutions.

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