Courageous Leeds boy Jacob 'the pilot' aims high with latest charity challenge

A courageous young Leeds fundraiser will be putting aiming to conquer the UK's highest mountain in a bid to raise even more money for his favourite charity.

Friday, 27th August 2021, 4:30 pm
Jacob 'the pilot' Newson. PIC: James Hardisty

Jacob 'the pilot' Newson will scale Ben Nevis this weekend in aid of the RAF Benevolent Fund, a charity for which he has generated more than £30,000 since being saluted by the Red Arrows at the Royal International Air Tattoo in 2019.

Saturday's summit assault comes just a few months after the seven-year-old from Methley completed the Three Peaks challenge, raising more than £50,000 for the hospice which cared for his mum Andrea in her last weeks. She died of breast cancer in December last year at the age of 49.

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Dad Andy said: “We always do an annual fundraiser for the Fund and this year is no different. We’re committed to supporting the RAF Family through the work of the Fund and we have a lot of fun doing it! We’re looking forward to the challenge of Ben Nevis, and are hoping to complete it in less than 10 hours.”

Training for this challenge has included walks in their local area as well as Jacob taking on a Tough Mudder course! To support Jacob visit his fundraising page.

The challenge replaces a Battle of France trip, which has been repeatedly postponed due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The pair had originally planned to walk 25 km from a Second World War crash site in Belgium to Dunkirk in May 2020, but it is hoped this will now take place next year.

The father and son duo climbed Pen-y-Ghent in Yorkshire in 2019, raising £6,500 for the RAF Benevolent Fund. They were inspired to fundraise after the Red Arrows surprised Jacob at the Royal International Air Tattoo (RIAT) 2019.

Andy posted a tweet asking any pilots and officers in uniform to return Jacob’s salute, and the tweet quickly went viral coming to the attention of the RAF’s

aerobatic display team who pulled off the ultimate surprise.

Andy previously served with the Army in Bosnia, Kosovo and Iraq. Andy’s father – Jacob’s grandfather – was an officer in the Merchant Navy while Andy’s grandfather – Jacob’s great grandfather – fought in the First World War with the Army.

Since his 2019 fundraiser, Jacob has been invited to various RAF stations and military museums across the country and has met Spitfire ace Allan Scott DFM and the last Dambuster Johnny Johnson.

Aaron Tillyer, Regional Fundraiser at the RAF Benevolent Fund, said: “Jacob did a fantastic job fundraising for us last year, so we’re thrilled that he and Andy have managed to make this year’s challenge work in spite of all the obstacles they’ve faced.

“We are committed to supporting the whole of the RAF Family whenever they may need us, and Jacob and Andy’s efforts will help us continue to do so for years to come.”

The RAF Benevolent 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.

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