HRH The Countess of Wessex Brings Diamond Challenge to RAF Wittering

29 September 2016

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Sixty years of the Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme were marked at RAF Wittering when the Station’s Honorary Air Commodore, Her Royal Highness the Countess of Wessex, cycled through.

The Diamond Challenge team sets off with Sqn Ldr Roy Brunning in the lead. (note: they didn’t use the A1 but headed back through the base to pick up the road to Kings Cliffe).

To mark the diamond anniversary of the Duke of Edinburgh (DofE) Award Scheme, the Countess of Wessex cycled from the Palace of Holyroodhouse to Buckingham Palace, a distance of 445 miles over seven days from Edinburgh to London.

Among the Countess’s team of support cyclists was Squadron Leader Roy Brunning, Royal Air Force triathlete and Officer Commanding No. 3 Mobile catering Squadron. Roy, an experienced cyclist, was one of only a few chosen to accompany Her Royal Highness on training runs and the ride itself.

HRH The Countess of Wessex in conversation with Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme members from Peterborough

The Honorary Air Commodore and the all-important support crew arrived at RAF Wittering late on Friday afternoon. After safety checks on all the bicycles and a good night’s rest, the Countess and her party were ready for the penultimate stage of the journey; RAF Wittering to RAF Halton.

HRH The Countess of Wessex in conversation with Camilla Tominey, Royal Correspondent for the Sunday Express

Saturday morning saw photographers and journalists from national newspapers and local radio stations arrive at RAF Wittering’s main gate. A group of children and young adults from Peterborough’s DofE Scheme arrived to speak with Her Royal Highness.

Photographs were taken in front of the Station’s iconic Harrier Gate Guardian before the Countess and her support crew set off for Royal Air Force Halton.

HRH The Countess of Wessex and team in front of the iconic Harrier ski-jump

Group Captain Rich Pratley is the Station Commander at RAF Wittering. He said: “A visit from our Honorary Air Commodore is always great, but it’s even better that it should be part of a wider event. The Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme is a massively positive force in the lives of so many young people, giving them new skills and providing direction and purpose; I’m glad that RAF Wittering has been able to play a part in the Diamond Challenge.”

Editor: Ed Palmer

© MOD Crown Copyright 2016

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