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RAF officers team up to help church

PUBLISHED: 13:23 12 May 2010 | UPDATED: 16:25 01 July 2010

Squadron leader Steve Willis <left> and flying officer John Harrison who serve at Ray Wyton in Cambridgeshire. They are cycling from their base to Great Yarmouth on Saturday in aid of St Nicholas Church.

Squadron leader Steve Willis and flying officer John Harrison who serve at Ray Wyton in Cambridgeshire. They are cycling from their base to Great Yarmouth on Saturday in aid of St Nicholas Church.

A pair of long serving RAF officers will be powering their way to Great Yarmouth on Saturday as they try to raise more than £750 in aid of the town's St Nicholas Church.

A pair of long serving RAF officers will be powering their way to Great Yarmouth on Saturday as they try to raise more than £750 in aid of the town's St Nicholas Church.

Squadron Leader Steve Willis and Flying Officer John Harrison will be cycling 125 miles from their base at RAF Wyton, in Cambridgeshire, to the doors of St Nicholas Church in 10 hours.

The officers, who have both been in the RAF for 19 years, are setting out on the longest bike rides of their lives because Sdn Ldr Willis's father in law, Colin Smith, is involved in the St Nicholas Church Preservation Trust fundraising group.

Mr Smith said his son-in-law got involved after he saw a picture of the 12th century church's organ and described it as 'awesome' and then decided to do something to help restore it and other parts of the towering building.

Although Sdn Ldr Willis, who is an engineer, has taken part in triathlons he has never cycled 125 miles in one day.

To prepare themselves for Saturday's ordeal the RAF officers have been training at the weekends and could be seen whizzing around on their bikes around RAF Wyton base, which helps to train pilots.

The officers' route will see them cycling through Ely, Downham Market, Norwich and Acle and they hope to arrive at St Nicholas Church at 4pm.

They will be welcomed by the mayor of Yarmouth Tony Smith and a guard of honour from the town's 221 air cadet squadron.

It will be the second time in two days that the military will be linked to helping preserve the church's organ and pinnacles as the former head of British army General Sir Richard Dannatt is giving a fundraising talk tomorrow night at Yarmouth's Masonic Royal Assembly Rooms.

Anyone who wants to support the work of the St Nicholas Preservation Trust can visit www.sncpt.co.uk

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