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MASF Challenge team RFA Fort Austin
MASF Challenge team RFA Fort Austin
Phalanx Team onboard RFA Fort Austin
RFA Fort Austin

Culdrose sailors help support Scotttish charity

Published: 29 Apr 2014

A contingent of sailors from Royal Naval Air Station Culdrose has contributed to a Ships Charity event whilst sailing to the Gulf. 

The Maritime Aviation Support Team (MASF) who provides the Royal Navy presence on board the Royal Fleet Auxiliary (RFA) FortAustin, “ran, cycled and rowed” as part of a whole ship challenge for a Scottish based Charity. 

The idea was to travel the same distance from Helensburgh near Glasgow to Dubai in the Gulf where the Ship was heading, raising money for the Helensburgh branch of ENABLE, an organisation that works to improve the lives of children and adults with learning difficulties. The Scottish west coast town has many affiliations with the Fort Austin, and has provided some fond memories for those in the embarked RN contingent. 

The initial suggestion was to cover the 3000 kilometres that would be the distance as the crow flies between the two locations, however ship’s company of 54 RFA and Naval personnel involved decided they wanted more of a challenge. So it was decided that the distance should be the mileage the ship covered if she were to steam that passage. The Navigator plotted the route (which disappointingly didn’t include a run ashore in Gibraltar!) and the eye-watering distance that he came up with was 6468 nautical miles (or 11978 kilometres). The challenge was on... 

The MASF contingent gave a good account of itself. This consisted of the Ship’s Medical Officer: Surgeon Lieutenant Alan McArdle and three members of the Phalanx, close-in defensive weapon team of, Chief Petty Officer Colin Reynolds, Leading Engineering Technician Steve ‘Budgie’ Burgess and Engineering Technician Glenn ‘Lara’ Croft. The four Sailors between them covered over 1000 km in the four weeks of the challenge. ‘Doc’ McArdle completed an entire marathon in one hit on the ship’s only treadmill, whilst one evening Colin managed to cover 18 miles running around the ship’s clearway. 

 “I knew this was going to be tough,” said Glenn ‘Lara’ Croft. “But I never realised the level of effort we would have to sustain for such a long period. Towards the end of the challenge the temperature in the gym was reaching 40°C which really made things difficult.” 

Steve ‘Budgie’ Burgess added, “It was good to have a goal to keep aiming for, this was a mammoth effort by everyone involved.” 

So far, over £1600 has been raised in support of ENABLE over the challenge.


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