'Row for Rob' at RAF Halton

Jane Reilly  |  Published: Mar 28th 2017

Corporal Rob Bugden, a serving Physical Training Instructor, suffered life changing injuries earlier last year in a parachuting accident, and this week his colleagues from RAF Halton challenged themselves to complete a 210.116 km row with the aim of raising funds to purchase a vehicle with wheel chair access. 

The Barbara Bus Foundation Fund has been paramount in supporting Rob’s recovery over the last year and the money raised will go towards funding the vehicle, giving greater freedom to all wheelchair bound personnel present and future.

Rob is currently at Headley Court, and whilst he is making an incredible recovery, his life has changed massively as a result of the accident.

The event was organised by Cpl Andy Lynch, himself a PTI, attached to Recruit Training Squadron at RAF Halton, who said: “An early start on Thursday 23 March, saw the start of the ‘Row for Rob’ challenge to be completed by Recruit Training Squadron, Physical Training Instructors (PTIs), to support Corporal Robert Bugden and the Barbara Bus Foundation.”

On 21 January 2016 Rob suffered severe spinal injuries in a parachuting accident. Throughout the month of March teams of PTI’s from across the Royal Air Force have been completing the arduous challenge of a 210.116 km row (the distance signifies the date of Rob's accident) with the aim of raising £32,000 to purchase the wheelchair accessible vehicle that will be based full-time at Defence Medical Rehabilitation Centre Headley Court.

The strategy of the day was simple but effective; to have two rowing machines permanently manned with PTI’s and Physical Education personnel completing 20 minute rotations, with additional machines to hand for Station personnel to support the challenge to add to the total distance. Cpl Lynch continued: “The day started well and we soon saw the kilometres getting completed. As we had two rowing machines I could see we would easily complete the 210.116 km within the 12 hour time limit we had set ourselves. As lunchtime approached the target of 210.116 km was in sight and was reached after seven hours and 15 minutes of rowing.  After the target was reached, the goal quickly changed to complete maximum distance within the time allotted.”

Throughout the day the challenge was supported by Station Executives, Physical Training Instructors from Airman’s Command School and the Regional Rehabilitation Unit, as well as several members of Recruit Training Squadron and Station personnel. Flying Officer Thomas Perry, who has worked alongside Corporal Bugden, said: “We had PTI’s from every avenue and ranks all supporting one cause, as well as personnel from across RAF Halton; it was fantastic to see the range of support throughout the day”.

On the stroke of 1800 hours rowing ceased and the final numbers were added up. In total an impressive 327.201 km, with Station personnel completing 258.107 km which meant the total distance rowed within 12 hours was a massive 585.308 km, which is the more than rowing the English Channel 17 times.

If you would like to donate please go to www.justgiving.com and search Physical Training Instructors.

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