An officer based at RAF Benson will be taking part in the London Marathon tomorrow to raise funds for the RAF Benevolent Fund, the force's leading welfare charity.

Flight Lieutenant Rich Graves, 32, a personnel training officer, is running his first full marathon, and he will also be taking part in the Reading Half Marathon in November in support of the Fund.

He said: “I have witnessed first-hand some of the amazing support that the Fund offers to the serving RAF community and am proud to support them this autumn as I complete the London Marathon and Reading Half.

“I’ve always wanted to take part in the London Marathon, and I’m hopeful that the legendary atmosphere around the course is the same this year as any other. As it’s my first marathon I’m planning on soaking it all in and enjoying the experience rather than aiming for a specific time.

"Without a doubt the hardest part will probably be recovering psychologically after somebody dressed in an 8ft rhino costume out paces me on the Mall – that’s assuming I even get that far!”

Heather Kemp, Community Fundraiser at the RAF Benevolent Fund, added: “We are so incredibly grateful for Rich’s support. By taking on this gruelling challenge, Rich is not only helping raise money for the RAF Benevolent Fund; he’s also helping to raise awareness of the support the Fund offers to other veterans, serving personnel, and their families.”

To donate to Rich’s fundraiser, visit