Gareth Stringer chats to a friend of Global Aviation Resource who is running a long way for a very good, and Royal Air Force related, charitable cause.
Some of you will know Martin Wintermeyer, for he has appeared on GAR a number of times in the past few years: as 2010 Tucano Display Manager, WSO instructor at RAF Linton-on-Ouse and Gulf War veteran, from his time on the Tornado GR1.
Martin’s next challenge is firmly earthbound though and on 21 April he will be running the London Marathon in aid of Leonard Cheshire Disability.
Group Captain Geoffrey Leonard Cheshire, Baron Cheshire, VC, OM, DSO and Two Bars, DFC (7 September 1917 – 31 July 1992) was a highly decorated British RAF pilot during the Second World War, and among the honours he received as a pilot was the Victoria Cross, the highest and most prestigious award for gallantry in the face of the enemy that can be awarded to British and Commonwealth forces.
Cheshire was the youngest Group Captain in the RAF as well as one of the most highly decorated pilots of the War and, after the conflict came to an end, founded a hospice which grew into the charity Leonard Cheshire Disability. For eight months during WWII, Cheshire was Officer Commanding 617 Squadron, and it is fitting that in this the 70th anniversary year of the Dambusters Raid that the current 617 Sqn has chosen Leonard Cheshire Disability as its charity partner.
All of the money Martin raises from his run will be going to one project, namely that of the walled garden at Alne Hall – a Leonard Cheshire residential centre which provides a range of services for adults with physical disabilities and is located near Martin’s York home
As well as providing residents with somewhere to relax and simply enjoy being outside, the renovated garden at Alne Hall will also provide them with a number of other important sensory, physical and social activities, such as a BBQ, picnic area, gym and greenhouse.
For Martin, running the London Marathon has been a long held ambition. He applied – and was turned down – for the first ever London Marathon when he was 18 and now, some 32 years later, and having promised friends he would complete it when he reached 50, he’s getting that chance.
Most importantly though, it is for a very good cause, and having raised almost £3000 already, Martin is hopeful of achieving his new fundraising target of £5000.
“My training is going very well,” he told me when we spoke earlier this week, “And I do feel as if the residents of Alne Hall are with me every step of the way. I’ve been writing a weekly blog for each of the 27 residents that were at the centre when I started, and I began training with 27 weeks to go, so do really feel as if I have had a virtual partner each week and for each mile of the marathon – a great help!
“The link with the home and the charity was really forged when I was on 76 Squadron at RAF Linton-on-Ouse. Cheshire was also CO of 76 Squadron during WWII, based both at Linton and also RAF Holme on Spalding Moor, so to be given a team place to run the marathon this year, and see the effect that the fundraising has on the garden project, is a real privilege.
“I hope that the aviation community can get behind me in this last couple of weeks before the run. It really is a super cause and Leonard Cheshire Disability is directly linked with the Royal Air Force, so many of my former colleagues have really backed me, which has been fantastic.”
If you would like to support Martin’s fundraising efforts please visit:
Or simply Text ALNE01 and then £20 (for example) to 70070
For more information on Leonard Cheshire Disability, visit:
You can also keep track of how the garden project is progressing, via Facebook:
Good luck Martin – we wish you all the very best and will be looking out for you on TV!