The RAF Rugby 7’s Lancaster Challenge 

The Royal Air Force’s official Rugby 7’s team took part in our Lancaster Challenge!

The players are all active and serving RAF personnel. Not the type to shy away from a challenge, 14 current and previous players, and their support team, undertook their own epic version of the Lancaster Challenge. Two Crews took part; one will be cycling the other running 500K in 24 hours on 21 May.

Sqn Leader Rory Wood spoke to Maggie Appleton, RAF Museum CEO, about their Challenge just before they started. Watch the video below.



Meet the Crews 

Scroll down to discover a little bit about each member of the crew, what their role is in the RAF and more.  

Crews of 7 flew in Lancaster’s so we have asked the Rugby 7’s to form their own crews for the ChallengeEach member of the Cycling Crew, and the Running Crew, has taken on a role that would have been assigned to the hundreds of Lancaster crews nearly 80 years ago. 

The Cycling Crew 

Flt Lt Matthew Tibbatts

Challenge Crew Position: Mid Gunner 

Challenge Crew: Cycling   

Years of Service in the RAF: 6 

I am currently based at RAF Brize Norton as the Plans Officer for No.1 Air Mobility Wing.  I will be taking part in the Lancaster Challenge by completing the bike and run part of the competition. Really looking forward to testing myself with the team and raising some money for the RAF Museum.  

Flt Lt Jake Lovatt

Crew Position: Pilot 

Challenge Crew: Cycling 

Years of Service in the RAF: 6 

I am currently posted to RAF Northolt as the Officer Commanding Force Protection Training Flight where it is my job to oversee the delivery of force protection training to RAF personnel in the Greater London area. I am taking on this challenge as I (weirdly) enjoy endurance challenges and think that this event in particular also provides a great opportunity to raise money for the RAF Museum in times that are extremely difficult for the UK Charity Sector.  

Flt Lt Charlie Nell

Crew Position: Flight Engineer 

Challenge Crew: Cycling    

Years of Service in the RAF: 11 

I am a Voyager pilot based at RAF Brize Norton. After completing the Battle of Britain 80km challenge, last year, I have been eager to get involved in the next one. This time I will be swapping my running shoes for my bike and will be completing the cycle leg of this challenge with the RAF Rugby 7s team.  

Wing Commander Nick Monahan

Crew Position: Wireless Operator 

Challenge Crew: Cycling 

Years of Service in the RAF: 17 

I am currently undertaking the Advanced Command & Staff Course at the UK Defence Academy, albeit remotely! Prior to starting the course I briefly served in HQ Air Command (High Wycombe), having previously served as a helicopter pilot at RAF Benson, flying the Puma Mk2 with 230 (Tiger) Sqn. I took part in the Museum’s 80km (in a day) Spitfire Challenge last year and, despite the pain, really enjoyed being back with the 7s guys. Digging deep in the name of a good cause, with mates, is surprisingly fun! 

Flt Lt Nathan Jones

Crew Position: Bomb Aimer 

Challenge Crew: Cycling  

Years of Service in the RAF: 16 

I am a former Voyager pilot and RAF Spitfires player. I’m really looking forward to the challenge not only to endure it with friends but my grandfather flew Lancaster’s during the Second World War so this is extra special. 

Sgt James Challenger

Crew Position: Rear Gunner 

Challenge Crew: Cycling 

Years of Service in the RAF: 13 

I am based at Brize Norton, as an aircraft engineer. I’m taking part as it will be good to get back into the Spitfire 7’s environment, been a long time due to work commitments and COVID-19.  

SAC(T) Toby Evans 

Crew Position: Navigator 

Challenge Crew: Cycling 

Years of Service in the RAF: 4 

I’m an Avionics technician based at RAF Benson on Puma Force. I’m taking part in this challenge to raise as much money as possible for a great cause, whilst also celebrating those who gave so much for us.  

 

The Running Crew 

Sqn Ldr Rory Wood

Challenge Crew Position: Rear Gunner 

Challenge Crew: Running    

Years of Service in the RAF: 12 

I’m currently based at Northwood HQ. I work in Standing Joint Force HQ as a joint logistics staff officer. As the Director of RAF Rugby 7s, I thought it would good to lead from the front in this challenge, give myself a sense of focus for the coming months as we endure lockdown, but mainly to support the fantastic charity efforts the RAF Museum work towards in promoting the history of the RAF. Something which as a serving officer I am immensely proud to be associated with.   

 Flt Lt Michael Hutchinson

Crew Position: Pilot  

Challenge Crew: Running 

Years of Service in the RAF: 5 

I am an Air Traffic Control Officer based at RAF Northolt where have been for 2 years, following 2 years based at RAF Akrotiri in Cyprus. I am taking part in the 24-hour challenge as I am a fond supporter of the RAF Museum, having visited it from a young age. It is also Challenges like this, that test the physical robustness expected of HM Forces personnel. I can’t think of a better Challenge than this, it’s connection to history makes it special. 

Flt Lt Samuel Randle

Crew Position: Flight Engineer 

Challenge Crew: Running 

Years of Service in the RAF: 4 

I am a trainee helicopter pilot, currently based at RAF Benson. This will be the second challenge that I've taken part in for the RAF Museum following the success of their Battle of Britain 80 campaign last year. Despite loathing anything remotely cardio based, it will be a privilege to again support a charity that celebrates the heritage of the Royal Air Force in such a way (and will be a perfect excuse for a couple of pizzas and beers afterwards). 

Flying officer Samuel Moorby 

Crew Position: Wireless Operator 

Challenge Crew: Running  

Years of Service in the RAF: 2 

I am currently based at RAFC Cranwell, about to begin Elementary Flying Training. I’m taking part in the 24-hour challenge to support the cause and encourage others to partake in their own personal challenges. 

Cpl Ryan Laird

Crew Position: Mid Gunner 

Challenge Crew: Running 

Years of Service in the RAF: 12 

I’m currently based at RAF Waddington within a Protective Security role. I’m taking part in the challenge because I enjoy raising money for good causes. I’ve found the best way to gain donations usually involves pushing myself beyond physical / mental boundaries. I’m from Lancashire and also used to be based at RAF Cosford so this cause has personal appeal to me.   

CPL Michael Robinson

Crew Position: Navigator  

Challenge Crew: Running 

Years of Service in the RAF: 7 

I am a Cpl at RAF Brize Norton, my primary role is working within Parachute engineering squadron. I am taking part because over the last few years I have taken up running, and having played with the RAF 7s in the UK and overseas, I felt it was an excellent opportunity to help out. 

Steven Mills 

Crew Position: Bomb Aimer 

Challenge Crew: Running 

Years of Service in the RAF: 12 

I am the ex-RAF Spitfires Team Manager, now working for SecureCloud+ as their Head of Operations, keen to continue to support RAF Sport and charities in whatever way I can. 

 

 

The Support Crew 

SAC(T) Sam Hutchinson Photo of Sam Hutchinson in the support crew playing rugby

Challenge Crew: Runners 

Years of Service in the RAF: 11 

I'm currently based at RAF Wittering on 71 Inspection and Repair Sqn. We carry out specialist repairs on all fixed wing aircraft across the tri service platform. I'm going to be a support driver for the runners. I'm taking part in the challenge as it's for a great cause and the lads running it are going to need all the help they can get.  

Lottie Lodge

Challenge Crew:  

Based at Brize Norton, I am a Sports Rehabilitator. I have worked for the military as an Exercise Rehabilitation Instructor for 4 years, and with RAF rugby for 3 seasons. Previous to this I worked full time in professional rugby. I love the camaraderie involved in these challenges, and feel compelled to ‘do my bit’ for the players who have a resounding inability to resist these horrible challenges they set themselves, but for such a worthy cause.   

WO Taff Cheedy 

Challenge Crew:  

WO Paul 'Taff' Cheedy currently based at RAF Brize Norton working on 1 Air Mobility Wing Assurance, Standards and Governance section. This challenge is helping to mark one of the most memorable periods for the RAF the during the second world war and I feel that it is something should be remembered. 

 

 

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