The Beaujolais Run® and the Red Arrows commemorate the 75th Anniversary of 617 Sqn
In tribute to the Dambusters who went before them, this year’s Beaujolais Run departed from RAF Scampton in a tribute to the brave airmen who took part in the raid 75 years ago.
RAF Red Arrows pilot Red10, Squadron Leader Adam Collins, waved the chequered flag to set the drivers on their way for the annual event, which will raise funds for the RAF Benevolent Fund, the RAF’s leading welfare charity.
It is the first time since its inception in 1970 that the run has started in the county, home of the legendary 617 Squadron. Nineteen teams, emulating the 19 Lancasters which departed from RAF Scampton in 1943, will now make their way through Holland to France before they ‘bring home the Beaujolais’ taking the shortest route possible.
Run Director Rob Bellinger said:
“Runners across the country are preparing themselves for the start of an epic adventure. Commemorating the Dambusters and 617 Squadron’s 75th anniversary could not be more special.
“With support from the Royal Air Force Benevolent Fund, Her Majesty’s Royal Air Force and the Royal Dutch Air Force the ‘Run will let its participants live the story of the 133 brave men who left the UK bound for Europe during wartime. They will be ably assisted in this commemoration by many partners including Toyota GB, Lexus, Champagne Taittinger and Louis Latour.”
Mark Quinn, RAF Benevolent Fund Area Director, said:
“We are already bowled over by the incredibly generous support shown by the Beaujolais Run competitors and we cannot wait to see how this year’s Run unfolds.
“The RAF Benevolent Fund has stood side by side with the RAF for almost 100 years and in that time supported many of the families who were left bereaved by the Dambusters Raid. Now, as it we did then, we stand ready to support the RAF Family, whenever they need us – a pledge we simply could not fulfil without the support of events like the Beaujolais Run.”
Each of this year’s vehicles will commemorate the families of the crews and are designated with the call sign of one of the planes from the Operation Chastise raid of 1943.
After leaving Lincolnshire the cars will follow the route of the wartime aviators and cross into Holland, where they will pay their respects on Armistice Sunday at the grave of Wing Commander Guy Gibson, leader of the dams raids.
Later that afternoon, crews will be granted special access to the Royal Netherlands Air Force Base at Gilze Rijen to lay a wreath in honour of the crew of Lancaster ‘S’ for Sugar which perished nearby. A memorial on the base, to the crew of AJ-S made from Rolls Royce Merlin pistons serves as a permanent tribute to those that left RAF Scampton but sadly didn’t return.
Those interested in entering the 2019 ‘Run which is entitled The Great Escape can do so by visiting beaujolaisrun.com and donating £10 to the Royal Air Force Benevolent Fund to receive details. The Beaujolais Run® is a not for profit event with all funds raised passed in full to the Royal Air Force Benevolent Fund.