Darren Pipe

After receiving a helping hand from SSAFA, RAF Sergeant Darren has embarked on an incredible fundraising journey, raising both awareness of our work, as well as thousands of pounds.

Darren Pipe

After receiving a helping hand from SSAFA, RAF Sergeant Darren has embarked on an incredible fundraising journey, raising both awareness of our work, as well as thousands of pounds.

Ten marathons (including London), two ultras, one long distance triathlon, six half marathons, five 100-mile bike rides and a parachute jump; that’s what one SSAFA fundraiser is taking on this year, after the charity helped his family.

When Darren Pipe (‘Pipey’) got moved to RAF Wittering in 2018, he was worried his wife and young children would struggle without him. SSAFA helped to relocate them so they could be together.

“18 months ago, I was moved, but it wasn’t classed as a posting, so the RAF didn’t move my family too. My wife is American, and she doesn’t know many people in the UK. At the time she was at university and our children were one and three years old.

“SSAFA secured the funds to help us move together. It was massive for me. If SSAFA hadn’t been there, I’d have been on my own every night, five nights a week, 75 miles away, knowing that my wife would be struggling. The move has made life a lot easier for both of us and it’s great I can watch my children grow up. I’ve got a daughter from a previous relationship and I did so many tours overseas I missed that with her, and it is painful.

“It cost £1,700 to move my family, so my aim was to try and raise £1,700 in 3 years to give back. I did that in just 63 days and now I have the bug I can’t stop.

“I’ve been in the RAF for 19 years. I have three years left of my career and want to spend every spare moment raising money for SSAFA to say thank you for what they have done for me. For us.”

This year, Pipey has devised the ‘SSAFA 2020 Challenge’ where he will take on a series of epic physical trials to raise funds.

“It’s going to be a difficult year with lots ahead. It’s not just the training and fitness, it’s the fundraising too, so I will be busy. It’s going to be a long year, but it’s going to be a great year.

“I’m looking forward to it, the London marathon especially, my wife will be doing her first marathon on the same day so we’ll do that together, I’ve asked her to wear a SSAFA vest as well, so SSAFA will be well advertised!

“She is the one who signed me up to do the parachute jump, even though I’m afraid of heights!”

Pipey has a longline of family who served in the Forces, and he joined the Army at 16 years old. He soon decided (after half a day) that the Army life wasn’t for him, and instead he joined the RAF. He’s served on five tours of Iraq, seven tours of Afghanistan and tours in Oman, Kuwait, Belize and Kenya. He has been posted around the UK in Leeming, Honington, Leuchars and Wittering. He wants British Forces across the world to know SSAFA has their back.

“In all honesty, I didn’t really know a lot about SSAFA. I went looking for help at the RAF welfare services, they then sat me with the Padre, and he took me to see SSAFA. They were so easy to talk to and said they could fix things for me easily and of course they would help.

“Because I didn’t know a lot about SSAFA back then, I push now to make sure everyone understands what they do.

“Now SSAFA is everything to me. They look after people in the services and family members from the minute they join. They are part of the military family.

“Thank you SSAFA – for past, present and for future. Just thank you.”

You can support Darren, and SSAFA, by donating on Darren's Justgiving page here.