The Tornado Tribute Tour of England was a 675-mile charity bike ride done by RAF veterans Mal Craghill and Martin Wintermeyer, a pair of Gulf War veterans who wanted to honour their fallen colleagues on the 30th anniversary of that armed conflict.
The duo completed a 675-mile bike ride, requiring more than 51 hours in the saddle. Along the journey, stretching from the Cornwall grave of Flight Lieutenant Steve Hicks to the grave of Flight Lieutenant Norman Dent in Tyne and Wear, the cycling pair visited nine special sites and laid 11 wreaths in memory of Tornado aircrew lost in the Middle East 30 years ago.
Their initial aim of raising £10,000 for the Royal Air Forces Association has been greatly surpassed thanks to the generosity of corporate sponsors including Nova Systems and a raft of public donors, enabling the Tornado Tribute Tour to amass four times the intended target.
The contribution of Nova Systems to this charity bike ride sits among a strong suite of veteran support initiatives that have been embraced by the company, including adopting the UK Armed Forces Covenant and the Defence Employer Recognition Scheme, along with providing funds to support veterans sporting pursuits – from Royal Air Force Cricket to Royal Navy Winter Sports.
Craghill and Wintermeyer, both former navigators aboard Tornado GR1s that flew in the Gulf War, said the support they received for their charity bike ride not only underlined the important work of the RAF Association, but also assisted their personal journey since leaving the RAF.
They were joined for part of the epic ride (between Bristol and Gloucester) by two Nova Systems colleagues, Chief Strategy Officer Julian Lee (a former Test Pilot in the British Army) and Royal Navy veteran Dain Thorne.
Nova Systems UK, which celebrates its tenth anniversary in 2022, was founded by veterans of the RAF and Australian Army, and the continued contributions of veterans remains a powerful driving force within the organisation. Among the 56 current consultants with Nova Systems in Europe, 46 are veterans.
We recognise the great value that veterans bring as members of the Nova Systems team, and we are especially supportive of veterans in their second careers.
- Julian Lee, Chief Strategy Officer, Nova Systems
“We appreciate their contributions and their talent. Their experience and ability lay the foundations for the Nova Systems team of the future, and it’s heartening that we are being recognised as an employer of choice among veterans,” says Julian Lee. “Veterans will always receive our respect, and we will strive to give back to the armed forces, to provide assistance where it’s needed.”