Doncaster teen on coast-to-coast fundraiser for leading military charity

A 13-year-old from Finningley, who aims to be an RAF pilot, is set to cycle and trek from west to east this month for SSAFA, the Armed Forces charity.
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Jayden Smithstone will complete the 140-mile fundraiser from Whitehaven in Cumbria to Tynemouth on the North Sea coast with stepfather, Mick Otterburn, on two wheels and two feet via Penrith, Stanhope, and Newcastle-upon-Tyne.

The teenager – Jayden attends Hall Cross Academy and is a cadet in 558 Finningley Squadron Air Training Corps – has set a target of £1,500 for SSAFA, but hopes to smash it, and has reached out on X and Instagram to celebrities including the Princess of Wales and Carol Vorderman for their connections to the Air Cadets to help him.

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This, however, is not Jayden’s first cycling fundraiser, and he said: “Me and my stepdad first started doing charity bike rides in 2020 and we challenged ourselves to a 20-mile round trip to Maltby where I placed a cross on a war hero's grave and at the local cenotaph in remembrance. The consecutive year, we decided to take up the challenge of doing a 40-mile round-trip ride to Eastoft in Lincolnshire. Again, I placed a cross on a war hero's grave and at the local cenotaph.”

Jayden Smithstone and Mick OtterburnJayden Smithstone and Mick Otterburn
Jayden Smithstone and Mick Otterburn

Jayden notes that he did not know about SSAFA – the UK’s oldest tri-service charity – until he became an Air Cadet, adding: ”But now I do know, and I like what it stands for and so I want to help SSAFA to support the servicemen and women who risk or risked their lives daily to protect our country.”

Mick – a training manager for Fitrite in Doncaster – is clearly proud of his stepson and adds: “Jayden really is an inspiration to me and to people of his own age for how he fundraises to support UK Armed Forces.

“And though we know the cost-of-living crisis is making times tough for a lot of people, if you can donate, or even just help raise awareness for us, we’ll be so grateful.”

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Jayden and Mick will set off around 10am on Friday, September 29 from Whitehaven Harbour.

They hope people in Whitehaven will turn out to see them on their way and for the exact location, use What 3 Words and enter repair.void.shield or on Google Maps, type C2C start Whitehaven.

Donations to their fundraiser can be made at

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