In August Dr Richard Telford will join the RideLondon 100-mile cycle ride from London to Surrey and back. In this guest blog, he shares his reasons for signing up.
I am cycling to raise funds for the RAF Benevolent Fund in memory of my father Thomas Telford who died in May 2014, aged 93, and my son Jonathon and daughter Charlotte will be joining me.
Dad served in the RAF from 1941 to 1946 and was fortunate enough to have survived a tour with Bomber Command.
The opportunity to cycle the Olympic Road Race course on closed roads will be amazing. I am sure the atmosphere will be extraordinary – I view the event as the cycling equivalent of the London Marathon!
I cycle to work when possible and have ridden numerous sportives over the years. I completed the JOGLE (John O'Groats to Land’s End) last May – 900 miles in nine days.
Dad joined up in 1941 and after completing his initial training was transferred to Albany, Georgia. He failed his pilot course and was sent to Ontario, Canada, where he trained as an air bomber and specialist bomb aimer.
He returned to the UK in March 1943 and was posted to several squadrons including 35 Squadron, 635 Squadron and 77 Squadron.
When plans to build a memorial to Bomber Command were publicised, Dad was determined to attend the dedication and unveiling in Green Park – a memorial he felt was long overdue. It was a very emotional day!
Dad felt so strongly about the Memorial he donated towards its upkeep. And this is one of the main reasons I am supporting the RAF Benevolent Fund in raising £1,000 because they are responsible for the upkeep of the magnificent Memorial.