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RAF veteran’s Coast to Coast cycle bid - on a child’s Raleigh Chopper

Douglas Gowans will be completing a 192-mile coast to coast challenge on a children's Raleigh Chopper bicycle to raise money for the RAF.
Douglas Gowans will be completing a 192-mile coast to coast challenge on a children's Raleigh Chopper bicycle to raise money for the RAF.

Chapel-en-le-Frith fundraiser Douglas Gowans is saddling up for a charity ride with a difference - cycling 192 miles coast-to-coast on a children’s Raleigh Chopper.

Douglas will take on the unique challenge in support of the Royal Air Force , during its centenary year. The 49-year-old served in the RAF between 1986 and 1990 and was a Mechanical Transport Driver.

Douglas Gowans will be completing a 192-mile coast to coast challenge on a children's Raleigh Chopper bicycle to raise money for the RAF.

Douglas Gowans will be completing a 192-mile coast to coast challenge on a children's Raleigh Chopper bicycle to raise money for the RAF.

He now works for Greater Manchester Police and cycles 34 miles to work and back every day.

Douglas said: “So many people do cycle rides and sponsored walks so I knew I needed to be a different. Being a 70s child I grew up on the Chopper so thought it would be the perfect way to get people talking and raise funds for the RAF charity The Benevolent Fund.”

The idea came about after a reunion with former RAF colleagues who collectively are hoping to raise £10,000 this year. Douglas contacted bike maker Raleigh, which still produces 400 limited edition choppers every year, and has been loaned a Raleigh Chopper MOD which bears the RAF symbol.

He said: “Since hearing what I was doing they have been so helpful and even invited me down to the factory.

“It’s really important for me to do this because the work the fund does is vital, but also to raise awareness of the RAF and highlight the everyday people who paid the ultimate sacrifice.

“I’ve already put in around 100 hours of training, and people keep stopping me and asking what a grown man is doing on a tiny bike and then donating on the spot.”

Douglas will be setting off on his three-day challenge from Whitehaven in Cumbria on June 12. Visit www.justgiving.com/fundraising/douglas-gowans.