666 miles for the fallen

by Sam Worthington-Leese in Uckfield, East Sussex, United Kingdom

666 miles for the fallen

£11,886

raised so far

+ est. £2254.50 Gift Aid

177

supporters

I have completed 666 miles in 100 days. That is 1 mile for every Typhoon pilot killed during WWII, in order to raise funds and awareness.

by Sam Worthington-Leese in Uckfield, East Sussex, United Kingdom

We're still collecting donations

On the 24th March 2022 we'd raised £7,239 with 110 supporters in 56 days. But as every pound matters, we're continuing to collect donations from supporters.

New stretch target

This campaign forms a small segment of the overall £5.5million+ cost of rebuilding RB396, so any extra cash raised will continue to go towards that!


Update 6th June

I am pleased to say I have COMPLETED this challenge. I have successfully run 666 miles in 100 days, and finished on time. That's an average of 6.66 miles, only missing two days - one due to illness, and another due to work, making up all missed miles subsequently. My final run, today, was 9.66 miles. Thank you if you have already sponsored me, if not, then I'll be leaving this page open for a little while longer to let any final contributions come in.


The Challenge

I am running 666 miles in 100 days; that is 1 mile for every Typhoon pilot killed during WWII, in order to raise funds and awareness for the Hawker Typhoon Preservation Group. The initial target is £10,000, but I believe we can do much better than that!

In order to culminate on the 6th June, the anniversary of D-Day and a significant date in the Typhoon's history, the challenge will commence exactly 100 days prior, on 27th February.

This challenge will take considerable effort; the average to be completed each day is 6.66, which in itself is not a huge amount. However, I am not a natural runner, in fact, I hate running! But overall, to complete 666 miles in 100 days, ensuring the average of 6.66 miles every single day is met, will require considerable organisation, dedication and effort - both physically and mentally - to fit it in around a full time job, the charity work, and family life. 

It is, however, nothing compared to what those who fought for our freedom during WWII went through, and is not even on the same scale as those who made the ultimate sacrifice. Each mile completed will remember one of those young men who sacrificed his life going to war in a Typhoon, to whom there is no memorial anywhere in the world.

When complete RB396 will be a living, breathing, working and flying memorial to all those who served on the type during WWII, especially to those who made the ultimate sacrifice.

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Running 6.66 miles every day, for 100 days. This was day one!

The Project

The Hawker Typhoon Preservation Group is a registered UK charity (1167143). I co-founded the charity in 2016, am the project director and the only remaining founding trustee. My grandfather flew the type during WWII, after the Hurricane and Spitfire; but he was one of the lucky ones, he survived. He was shot down, for the second time, on 21st May 1944, force landing his stricken Typhoon in Holland and becoming a PoW in Stalag Luft III until the war ended. 

My involvement in this project is because of him, and the others like him, who took this aircraft type to war, knowing its shortcomings and knowing their own poor chances of survival due to the nature of the role. 

This project exists to raise the funds required - we are not the engineers doing the work, we leave that to the professionals. Our job is to raise the funds, we are all volunteers working on this project in our spare time around jobs, lives and families. Every penny raised across all of our endeavours, goes to the rebuild effort, not on staff salaries. When we raise the money, we then charge the professional organisations to carry out the restoration work, to the highest possible standard befitting a one of a kind rebuild. The faster the funds can be raised, the faster the work can progress.

RB396 is the donor aircraft that will ultimately be rebuilt once the funds have been raised. This aircraft was flown predominantly by Frank Johnson in the latter stages of WWII, with 174sqn as they advanced through norther Europe. The aircraft was built in November 1944 and delivered to the squadron in early January 1945. We know it flew at least 36 combat sorties, and many more flights alongside those, and it was damaged by flak an incredible 18 times, which just highlights the dangers the crews faced. 

It was finally brought down, for good, on the 1st April 1945, also in Holland. On this day it was being flown by Chris House, as Frank had been shot down in another aircraft (because RB396 was being repaired from flak damage) two days prior and became a PoW. Following this it was recovered for scrap at the end of the war, and finally the rear section ended up passing through a series of museums before returning to the UK in 2012, with the project forming around it a few years later in 2014/15. The charity then formed - to safeguard the project and all its components - in May 2016.

The project has been hit hard by ongoing COVID restrictions, and it is hoped this challenge will raise awareness and funds, to allow work to continue.

1641481808_10._r.g_worthington_(my_grandfather)_184_sqn_eastchurch_1944,_typhoon,_standing,_far_right.jpegMy grandfather, R.G Worthington, standing middle row, far right, in front of a Typhoon with 184sqn. He was shot down just weeks later.

Progress so far

Over £1million has been raised or pledged so far, since the formation of the charity in 2016. These funds, whilst there is still approximately another £4million to be raised, have allowed for considerable progress and for the charity to operate. This year, will be the charity's 6th anniversary. The first section undergoing restoration is RB396's rear fuselage, work on which is being carried out at Airframe Assemblies on the Isle of Wight. This section is almost complete and will wear a price tag in the region of £300,000. 

The Duxford based Aircraft Restoration Company is the project's engineering support partner for this rebuild, and the next major sections, including cockpit, tail section and engine, are at their facility now, awaiting funds for work to begin in earnest. The funds raised from this challenge will help to finish the fuselage, and commence the cockpit. 

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The rear fuselage of RB396, which is very nearly complete on the Isle of Wight.

More information

For more information on the project, and to support it outside of this campaign, please visit the website: www.hawkertyphoon.com

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Rewards

This project offered rewards

£66 or more

£10p a mile

Technically, 10p a mile would be £66.60p, however, the platform only allows "whole £1" contributions, so £66 sounds better than £67!! 10p for every pilot killed in the Hawker Typhoon during WWII.

£20 or more

Base layer

Sponsor the cost of a base layer for the running challenge. I'm starting in February, it was snowing here at that time last year. Many of the runs will be completed during the early morning or late evening, fitting them in around work...

£20 or more

Running shorts

Normally I don't track my distance when running, but for this I need to. That means I need to take my phone, and carrying it in one hand is a pain in the backside as I've found out the last few days! Sponsor the cost of a pair of running shorts with a dedicated phone pocket to allow me to track the runs accurately and not smash my phone in the process.

£122 or more

Running shoes

Sponsor the cost of a pair of running shoes for the event. Advice is to replace running shoes between 300 - 500 miles. I am particularly keen to avoid injury on this challenge as there a no "off" days. I will replace the shoes at the lower end of the scale, around 300 miles. At 333 miles I will be half way on the challenge and will replace them then. The shoes I wear are the Mizuno Wave Mujin 8 in a 10.5. This reward covers one pair.

£666 or more

666 - £1 per pilot killed

Pledge at this level and receive either: your company name or your name on the running shirts as a "main sponsor". You will then receive that same name mentioned across all social media channels (combined audience 50k+) at least three times per week for the duration of the challenge and in any media reports on the event. Shirts will be worn in any media coverage. Must pledge by 13th February as shirts go to print on the 14th!

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