An RAF veteran from Horsham, completed a 17-mile wheelchair push last month. Dan Pelling was due to take part in the Brighton Marathon on 19 April to raise money for the RAF Benevolent Fund, the RAF’s leading welfare charity. Unfortunately, the event was rescheduled as a result of the ongoing coronavirus crisis.
Dan, who is an ambassador for the RAF Benevolent Fund, was supported by the charity following a hit and run accident in 2000 that left him paralysed from the chest down. The Fund purchased a house for Dan through its Housing Trust in 2003, allowing him to move into a specially adapted bungalow close to his family. More recently, it provided accessible kitchen units and landscaped the garden to make it easier for him to manoeuvre in his wheelchair.
Dan said: “The RAF Benevolent Fund has supported me since my accident in 2000, so I signed up for the Brighton Marathon to help give a little something back. Although this couldn’t take place as scheduled, I wanted to raise awareness of the Fund challenge myself as I’d been training hard for it.
“Last year I started going for a push each morning before work, ultimately building up to 10km, which I was pretty proud of. With this year marking 20 years since my accident, I wanted to do something bigger – but it turns out 26 miles is a lot longer than 10km!”
He added: “I couldn’t in my wildest dreams have imagined pushing this sort of distance after my accident. The first time I used a wheelchair, I struggled to push five metres down the hall in the hospital. My only goal was to push further than I had done before – 14 miles – so it felt great to have beaten my personal record by three miles.”
The RAF Benevolent Fund provides financial, emotional, and practical assistance to serving and retired RAF personnel and their families. This includes grants to help with financial difficulty, specialist advice on benefits, support with care needs, and more.