AN epic charity challenge to remember fallen heroes will raise funds for young people in Dorset.

A trio of RAF pilots, who helped to repatriate those killed in Afghanistan, will complete the equivalent of 17 marathons in 17 days – and the John Thornton Young Achievers Foundation (JTYAF) is set to benefit.

The organisation – which supports young people across Dorset – was established in 2008 by the parents of Lieutenant John Thornton, of the Royal Marines, who was killed in Afghanistan on March 30 that year.

One of the three Hercules pilots completing the huge task, Flight Lieutenant Tom Moutney, was a good friend of John’s.

John’s mum Linda said: “We are delighted that the JTYAF has been included as one of the recipient charities for this huge fundraising challenge being taken on by three RAF pilots.

“The run will pass through Ferndown, John’s home town. John would be honoured by this tribute.”

Flt Lt Mountney will join colleagues Flt Lts Rob Platt and Graeme Hunt for the run.

The three men aim to travel 448 miles – one for each member of British service personnel killed during the conflict in Afghanistan.

As combat operations come to a close, the men said that they felt they should commemorate the sacrifice made by so many of their comrades.

As well as paying tribute to the fallen, they want to help those who have been injured and aim to raise £10,000 for Help for Heroes and a number of other military charities.

The team will leave RAF Brize Norton following a route that will take them around the south and west of England stopping at military establishments along the way.

They will run through Ferndown next Wednesday, April 23.

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