Couple take in RAF bases on trip down memory lane

Norman and Sylvia Powell EMN-151013-165327001
Norman and Sylvia Powell EMN-151013-165327001

A couple in their 70s took a tandem trip down memory lane cycling between two RAF bases and raised money in aid of a Bomber Command memorial at the same time.

Norman Powell, 77, and his wife Sylvia, 78, from Shropshire, donned their helmets and finest cycling apparel to depart on a nostalgic trip from RAF Wittering to RAF Coningsby and back again, a total distance of 90 miles, to raise around £1,500 for the International Bomber Command Memorial in Lincolnshire.

On a very bright and sunny Saturday morning, the couple set off at 9am on the dot, hoping to complete the cycle by 6pm.

But punctures got the better of them and after a slight detour in the wrong direction and a couple of stops to refuel on food and water, the determined pair arrived back at the gates of RAF Wittering at 9pm in surprisingly good spirits.

Upon arriving back at the main gate and after a 12-hour day on the bike, Norman said: “We are so happy to have completed this ride today, slightly later than planned, but it has been a lovely day even if it was very challenging; I think we will sleep well tonight”.

The pair were ably assisted throughout their cycle by ex-RAF support vehicle driver Pam Cowlishaw from the International Bomber Command Centre.

Pam very kindly volunteered her services, providing essential water and food top ups as required.

Norman completed his National Service in the RAF between 1956 and 1958, serving the majority of his time with 49 Sqn at RAF Wittering followed by a short stint in the workshops at RAF Coningsby.

Every weekend he would cycle from Coningsby to Wittering to see local girl Sylvia, who he was then courting.

The pair are no strangers to cycling, having previously ridden some 349 miles in a 24 hour period.