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As part of my Junior leaders course with the Royal Air force Air cadets, I have been challenged to raise money for the John Thornton Young achievers foundation (JTYAF) a brilliant foundation set up in memory of John Thornton who was tragically killed in Afghanistan in 2008. The JTYAF provides opportunities for young people to help them develop as individuals reaching their ambitions in life, learning vital skills and breaking barriers they may never have thought they would.
The Junior Leaders course is a physically demanding and mentally challenging course that runs from September to Easter every year. It is the highest and most challenging level of the leadership courses open to cadets. The course is lead and instructed by ex service members from all backgrounds in the services, devoted volunteers from the Royal Air Force Air cadet orginisation and ex graduates of the course. The course focuses on developing leadership skills such as command and control, planning, time management, confidence and reaction to unexpected events. It does this through advanced fieldcraft skills such as section attacks, defensive operations and various patrols to assess individuals in 3 roles; Section commander, Section 2IC and a subordinate. Along side this i am completeing an Institute of Leadership and management (ILM) level 3 qualification in which im required to complete a project. For this i am going to be fundraising for the JTYAF and plan to raise at least 500 pounds before april 2019.
The John Thornton Young Achievers foundation was made in memory of John Thornton in 2008. John achieved an incredible amount in his short but amazing life. Indeed, there are not many 22 year olds who can say they have climbed Kilimanjaro, flown with the Red Arrows, travelled across New Zealand, qualified as a sky diver and have worked in both Iraq and Afghanistan as an Officer in the Royal Marines.
John set his sights on becoming an Officer in the Royal Marines when he was 13 years old. Everything in his life then became focused on that goal and he worked tirelessly to achieve it.
He joined 2358 (Ferndown) Sqn Air Cadets in 1998 rising to the rank of Cadet Warrant Officer before leaving in 2004 to join the Royal Marines. Among his many achievements were a Gold Duke of Edinburgh’s Award, a parachute course at Weston-on-the Green, an RAF Marksman qualification and taking in part in the Nijmegen Marches on two occasions.
He was named top student on the challenging Air Cadet Junior Leaders’ Course – the achievement recognized by a memorable flight with the Red Arrows at RAF Scampton. Afterwards, he was invited to become an instructor at Junior Leaders, inspiring a number of his fellow Ferndown cadets to apply for and succeed on what has become known as the Air Cadet Organisation’s toughest course.
John commissioned into the Royal Marines in August 2004. After completing a grueling 15 months of Young Officer training and being awarded the coveted green beret, his first appointment was a Platoon Commander with the 1st Battalion The Devon and Dorset Light Infantry with whom he deployed to Iraq, serving with distinction on Op TELIC 8.
He was subsequently appointed to serve with 40 Commando Royal Marines in January 2007 and was “thrilled at the prospect of leading Marines on operations.” He deployed to Afghanistan in September 2007 in command of Charlie Company’s Fire Support Group and it was in this role that he excelled throughout Op HERRICK 7, until he was tragically killed 2 weeks away from coming home safely.
John lived his dream and died doing the job he loved. The aim of the John Thornton Young Achievers Foundation is to encourage and assist young people to ‘climb as high as they can dream.’ Whatever their dream, we hope to help them achieve it.
In order to raise money for this amazing charity i will be completeing the yorkshire 3 peaks with Brad Simpson who will be walking and completeing the walk along side me. We are aiming to complete the route in under 12 hours and by the end of the day will have summited 3 peaks, Pen-Y-Ghent (694 metres), Whernside (736 metres) and finnally Ingleborough (723 metres). In total the route is 40 kilometres (24 miles) and includes 5200ft of ascent. The exact date of the walk date of the will be confirmed in due course howvever will be inbetween the 16th and 21st of february 2019.
Its because of johns story that I am so motivated to fund raise for the JTYAF and would not be doing so if I didnt fully believe in what the foundation represents. John lived his short yet amazing life to the fullest and I hope that fund raising for this foundation allows many young people to do the same. In completion of the Junior leaders Course it will also help me, as I aim to use the course as john did to achieve my future ambitions of becoming a pilot in the RAF.
Thank you for your time, any donations would be appreciated and will help to achieve this fantastic goal.
Thank you, Lucas.