AN 84-YEAR-OLD man from Gillingham has recently cycled 11 miles on a MOTOmed exercise machine, raising more than £1,000 for the RAF Benevolent Fund.

Albert ‘Bert’ Rogers, who was born and raised in Wales, served in the Royal Air Force as an air radar technician at RAF Colerne from 1953 to 1955.

Bert’s wife June passed away in 2006, and shortly afterwards Bert was diagnosed with a muscle wasting disease.

He was left severely disabled by a stroke in 2008, being paralysed down the whole of one side of his body.

However, Bert was determined to stay in his home and with the help of many carers he is still there. He is an active member of the Blackmore Stroke Club committee and welcomes school children and teachers into his home to learn about living with disability.

Bert said: “I wanted to raise money for the RAF Benevolent Fund as they have been so generous to me and their support has allowed me to maintain my independence for many years.

“The 11 miles was a huge challenge for me, but I was determined to complete it to help give something back to the fund.

“Without the RAF Benevolent Fund’s support, my life would be much harder than it already is.”

The RAF Benevolent Fund have supplied Bert with complex powered wheelchairs, mobility aids in the house and contributions to the cost of his care package.

The fund provides financial, emotional, and practical assistance to serving and retired RAF personnel and their families. This includes grants to help with financial difficulty, free memberships for Headspace, Airplay youth clubs, and more.

Regional fundraiser at the RAF Benevolent Fund Heather Kemp said: “We’re proud to have been able to support Bert over the years, and we’re touched that he’s decided to give something back to the fund.

“He is a true inspiration to other potential fundraisers, proving that you can indeed continue to challenge yourself later in life.”

In response to the Covid-19 pandemic, the fund has expanded its 'Telephone Friendship Groups' service to allow more veterans to join a weekly call and developed an online application form for grants of up to £750.

It has made £2,500 available for each RAF station to provide an activity and wellbeing pack for RAF children and launched Airplay Connect - an online version of its youth support service.

You can show your support by donating to Bert’s JustGiving page;