The Reverend Dr (Squadron Leader) Chris Hodder, Station Chaplain at RAF College Cranwell, will be donning his Lycra on Saturday 11 June for RAFA Rides 2022, but he won’t be the only one from his family to do so. His daughter Emily (13) and father-in-law Geoff Fitzjohn (69) will also be taking part on their tandem and all three are raising money for the Royal Air Forces Association.

RAFA Rides 2022, made possible thanks to generous ongoing support from security and aerospace company Lockheed Martin UK, was created so people across the world could join together both in person and virtually, in support of the RAF community.

Speaking of 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, but 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 cycles 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 is riding with us, and then watching my Dad struggle in after his ride.”

Geoff added that he is:

“really pleased to be able to support the charity and just delighted that my granddaughter wants to do it with me on the tandem.”

The 2021 event saw 810 riders join together from around the world to take part. This included 250 who cycled routes around the beautiful Leicestershire and Rutland countryside, with the rest joining virtually from 20 countries across six continents, all united in cycling for a cause close to their hearts. Teams and individuals took part in North America, South America, Africa, the Middle East, New Zealand, as well as across the UK and Europe.

If you wish to support Chris, Geoff and Emily, please visit their JustGiving page.

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