Published: 09:00, 05 November 2019
A former Sheppey air cadet is raising money for charity after realising his childhood dream of a career in the RAF.
Matthew Rush, who grew up in Rushenden and used to attend Sheppey Air Cadets, is based at RAF Northolt in west London, where he is a leading aircraftman.
The 22-year-old has decided to raise money for the Royal Air Forces Association by running next year’s London Marathon.
He aims to reach his fundraising target of £2,000 before setting off for the challenge next April.
The organisation offers advice and support to the youngest recruit up to the oldest veteran before, during and after their careers.
Mr Rush, who joined the RAF last March, said his role mainly involved administration tasks.
He has also helped co-ordinate visits by US President Donald Trump and has visited Oman on exercises.
'I was flying at 14, there’s not many kids who can say they’ve done that' - Matthew Rush
The former Queenborough Primary School and Isle of Sheppey Academy pupil said: “The RAF Association does a lot.
“When I started training they provided free Wifi for recruits which was good because we were able to stay in touch with home at quite a stressful time.
“At the moment I’m shift working so I’m not part of a running club. I’m running around Northolt about two to three times a week and the furthest I’ve been in one go is a half-marathon.
“I enjoy running, I’m not very good at it but I enjoy doing it so I thought I could apply myself while raising money for a worthy cause and I wanted a challenge to face.
“I’m nervous for the marathon but excited because I know I’ll finish eventually. I’ve never been part of such a large sporting event before.”
Mr Rush now goes back to Sheppey Air Cadets when on leave to pass on his knowledge.
“I joined air cadets when I was 13 years old and left between 16 and 17 but I’ve gone back now as a service instructor,” he added.
“When I was there I learnt self-discipline and leadership skills and I was flying at 14, there’s not many kids who can say they’ve done that. It’s a good grounding for anyone, not only those interested in aviation.
“Seeing the Red Arrows helped me decide that I wanted a career in aviation. They are a very effective recruiting tool.
“As long as I was working with planes, I knew I would be happy.”
'I’m nervous for the marathon but excited because I know I’ll finish eventually' - Matthew Rush
Visit www.justgiving.com/runningforrafa to donate.
Read moreIsle of Sheppey
More by this authorEllis Stephenson