Aylesbury Vale Wing Commander wins prestigious ‘Above and Beyond’ award for veteran charity

A Wing Commander who grew up in Aylesbury Vale claimed the prestigious ‘Above and Beyond’ RAF award at a recent ceremony.

By James Lowson
Thursday, 16th June 2022, 12:27 pm

Mike Ainsworth who is from Halton, and attended John Colet School, in Wendover, claimed a prize at the RAF Benevolent Fund’s annual awards.

The award recognises those who have gone the extra mile to raise money for the RAF Benevolent Fund which supports veterans and their families.

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Mike receiving his 'Above and Beyond' award, photo by Oliver Dixon

Mike played an integral role in creating the Dambusters Ride, helping to plan the route organising training sessions and providing tips for other participants.

It is named after the world-famous Dambusters, members of the RAF's 617 Squadron who were assembled to bomb three dams in Germany's Ruhr Valley on the night of 16-17 May 1943.

Also known as Operation Chastise, it was a risky raid, dropping the revolutionary bouncing bomb at low level, and the cost was high.

Mike cycled 5,600 miles for charity last year

Out of 133 men who left, 53 were killed and three became prisoners of war.

As well as being a key figure in the development of the ride, Mike took on the challenge of cycling 5,600 miles in 2021 to raise money for the RAF Benevolent Fund.

He said: “The award is very humbling considering the considerable contributions made by a wide variety of fundraisers during 2021. Young or old, so many people go above and beyond to support the RAF Benevolent Fund’s work to help the RAF Family.”

It was the 10th anniversary of the RAF Benevolent Fund Awards, which celebrates fundraisers, volunteers and partners.

Air Vice-Marshal Chris Elliot, controller of the RAF Benevolent Fund, said: “It has been wonderful to see all our generous supporters and fundraisers as we once again celebrate their efforts.

"The awards are a fantastic opportunity to recognise all the great work that allows us to continue supporting RAF veterans, serving personnel and their families, and making a real improvement to their lives.

"Many congratulations to Mike and all this year’s winners, their inspirational enthusiasm, creativity, and generosity has been wonderful to see. From everyone at the RAF Benevolent Fund – thank you.”

Mike received his award at Plaisterers’ Hall in London on Thursday 9 June.