Air Traffic Controllers' marathon charity ride enters final day

Gibraltar! The SATCOs reach the destination... now all they have to do is ride back!
Gibraltar! The SATCOs reach the destination... now all they have to do is ride back!

Four air traffic controllers riding motorcycles from Aberdeen to Gibraltar and back to the UK, visiting 24 ATC units along the way, are about to enter the final day of the 17-day marathon.

The riders, Wayne Clarke from Aberdeen Airport, Richard Fell, Shaun Bellairs-Wray and Harvey McVicar from Swanwick Area Control Centre all have experience of long distance touring in the UK and Europe.

Their trip, ‘The BigTour, 24 in 2024‘ is raising funds for the Solidarity Wings Fund @ Aerobility and Prostate Cancer UK.

Prostate Cancer UK is a charity of great personal significance to Wayne and the Aberdeen Control Tower Staff.  An ex-staff member from the unit passed away in May 2023 from the disease, having been diagnosed in 2021. His diagnosis shocked staff at the unit and the whole team feel that raising awareness of prostate cancer is essential.

The riders. From left: Wayne Clark, Richard Fell, Shaun Bellairs-Wray and Harvey McVicar

“It’s fair to say that The BigTour: 24 in 2024 has exceeded all expectations,” said the four team members when FLYER contacted them while on the ferry from France.

“From the day prior to departure on the runway at Aberdeen for a photo shoot, to the biblical rains in Northern Ireland.

“From London City Runway at night, to being ‘chased’ down the runway at St Athan by a police helicopter.

“Visiting Aberporth in West Wales and riding through the Brecon Beacons to Bristol.

“Visiting the units and experiencing how they operate, chatting with staff about working environments and challenges they face has been educational for us all.  It’s easy as controllers to become blinkered and not appreciate what is going on in our wider company world.

Oi! Are you cleared to park there?

Oi! Are you cleared to park there?

“Our journey through Spain to Gibraltar was an eye opener. The country is vast with mountains in the north, a huge central plain and mountains in the south which lead you to La Linea and the contested area of Gibraltar.

“We were looked after extremely well by the local control team and the RAF. We were allowed up the rock to Rock Gun, the MOD controlled area which is normally out of bounds to the public and two-wheel vehicles.

“We are currently on the ferry back to Portsmouth and dock at 1900.  Tomorrow is the last day.  We ride to Netheravon, Middle Wallop before arriving at Corporate and Technical Centre in Whitely, where the ride ends with a visit to Western Radar.

Final day of the ride is a short ride for the team

Final day of the trip is a short ride for the team

“Our aim has always been to raise awareness of the prevalence of this disease and to dispel the myths surrounding testing. The fact that 12.5% of people with prostates are likely to contract this disease is sobering. 1 in 8 people.

“If we can encourage people to go and get tested and something is detected and treated means that we have won. And we HAVE already won. At least five people we know have been tested as a direct result of conversations we have had; issues have been found and treated.

“[Our other charity] Aerobility speaks for itself.  Enabling people who would normally not be able to experience the joys of flight.  The work they do with injured veterans is laudable.

“The challenge will continue until November at the Aerobility Aviators’ Ball. We have various prizes to auction, with proceeds being divided equally between both charities.”  – Wayne, Richard, Shaun and Harvey.

Like to donate to 24in24? Click here


Leave a Reply


We use cookies to give you the best online experience. Please let us know if you agree to all of these cookies.