RAFAC volunteer attempts "Up at the O2" for charity

17 Sep 2019

Inspirational RAF veteran Sean Allerton is climbing to the “top of London” today (September 17th) at 1000hrs as he scales The O2 arena in a wheelchair.

He is then travelling to 10 Downing Street for a reception on the work of his charities.

Sean, 54, who lost the use of his legs in a road traffic collision whilst on duty in Cyprus several years ago is now a volunteer with the RAF Air Cadets.

He is being joined in his “climb” over the top of the 52-metre-high 02 Arena roof by an air cadet, RAF Air Cadet volunteers, and other Push 500 supporters.  

And in the process, he has been raising money for his Push 500 charities; Royal Air Forces Association, Royal Air Force Benevolent Fund, Royal Air Force Charitable Trust, and Elizabeth’s Legacy of Hope. 

Photo: Credit The O2 arena.

The arena is 380 metres long and the “climb” takes an average of two-and-a-half hours.

He and his party of supporters will pause to take in panoramic views over Greenwich, the former Olympic Park, Tower Bridge, Big Ben, Canary Wharf and The Shard.

The start of the climb is the most difficult as it is the steepest at an angle of 30 degrees.  Sean, a quadriplegic,  is using a special climbing wheelchair for the celebration climb marking his journey of funding raising.


He has been a volunteer with the RAF Air Cadets for a number of years helping young cadets and when in the RAF he undertook multiple tours in Northern Ireland, Germany and Cyprus.  He served as an RAF Regiment gunner in 58, 3, and 34 Squadrons for eleven years.

Sean, who lives in Yorkshire, was “medivac’d” back to UK after his accident and spent 50 weeks in hospital with a broken neck.

Against the odds he won a flying scholarship in 2011 training towards his private pilot’s licence.  He flew solo on the last day of his scholarship. 


He said: 

“The scholarship spurred me to give back to the charities who helped me. The problem was how to do that with a bit more longevity than a parachute jump.

“I helped someone doing a charity website and they’d got The Proclaimers band as patrons - so I said ‘I’d best push 500 miles then’...

I got their contact details,  approached their manager and asked them if they would support me.   They said yes with no hesitation so I started it by using RAF Church Fenton airfield, with the kind permission of the Group Captain.

“For the start of the first 500 miles, The Proclaimers walked with me. End of first 500 and start of second 500 they gave me a gig for guests. Great support.”

Sean has now done several 24-hour pushes at RAF Church Fenton, RAF Leeming, RAF Cranwell, RAF Lossiemouth and RAF Honington, and other pushes at RAF Odiham, RAF Northolt, RAF Benson, RAF Akrotiri, RAF Linton On Ouse, RAF Waddington and at Gatwick (down one runway whilst other was still live), and North Weald airfield.

Johnny Ball has joined him and so have the RAF Red Arrows and The Blades aerobatic teams. 

To date, Sean has raised £38k for charity and pushed 2001 miles.

Air Cadet Magazine

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Air Cadet Magazine

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