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Brothers recreate grandfather’s historic Marble Arch to Arc de Triomphe win

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Brothers Daniel (left) and Simon (right) Maughan, with their father David (centre) at the finish line at the Arc de Triomphe.

A FROME man and his brother have cycled from London’s Marble Arch to the Arc de Triomphe in Paris, recreating an historic journey taken by their grandfather.

In 1959, Air Vice-Marshal Charles Maughan, the grandfather of Simon Maughan from Frome and his brother Daniel, flew from London to Paris in just 40 minutes and 44 seconds, winning the Blériot Anniversary Air Race. The race was organised by the Daily Mail, to mark the 50th anniversary of Louis Blériot becoming the first person to cross the English Channel in an aeroplane.

For the race, Air Vice-Marshal Maughan raced from Marble Arch on an RAF motorbike to a helipad in Chelsea, where a helicopter took him to a waiting Hawker Hunter at Biggin Hill in Kent, which he flew across the Channel to the Arc de Triomphe.

Sixty years later, his grandsons, Simon and Daniel, have completed the same journey – this time using pedal power, rather than air – raising money for the RAF Benevolent Fund. So far, nearly £2,600 has been raised for the charity, and the brothers are hopefully of hitting their £5,000 target, with more donations coming in and a fundraiser planned this weekend at the Cheese & Grain.

The pair set themselves a target of 40 hours and 44 minutes, but managed to complete the journey in 40 hours and 40 minutes. Their father, David Maughan – the son of Air Vice-Marshal Charles Maughan – joined them for the last leg, riding the final 20 miles to the Arc de Triomphe. Waiting for them at the finish line was the trophy which Air Vice-Marshall Maughan was presented with on winning the Blériot Anniversary Race.

Speaking to Frome Times Simon said, “Crossing the line we were massively elated to have completed the challenge within the timeframe we set ourselves – there was a huge outpouring of emotion from my dad, brother and me. 

“The challenge was tough, but it was a wonderful experience. And it’s a great feeling to know that another generation of the family has now completed the same journey as my grandfather.

“Our grandfather passed away in 2009, it wasn’t until after he died myself and my brother learnt about his historic journey. My father, who was six at the time, vaguely knew of it, but no one spoke about it. Our grandfather was a humble man and didn’t talk about his achievements. We never saw his trophy until after he died – so there’s a tinge of sadness, it would have been wonderful to talk to him about it.

“We are hugely proud of our family history – it was exciting to learn about what our grandfather achieved, it’s something that should be celebrated. No-one can quite believe that travelling to London to Paris in the time that he did, under an hour, could be possible. It’s a huge achievement.”

As the fundraising continues, this Sunday, 18th August, Simon and Daniel are hosting an ‘Arch to Arc’ quiz night at the Cheese & Grain, starting at 8pm. Teams of up to six people are welcome to enter, with entry costing £6 per team. Tickets are available from the Cheese & Grain. All money raised will go towards the brothers’ £5,000 target for the RAF Benevolent Fund.

Heather Kemp, RAF Benevolent Fund regional fundraiser said, “This is an incredible challenge with an amazing link to the past. It is especially significant as it comes in the year the fund also marks a milestone – its 100th anniversary. 

“To mark our centenary, we have launched a campaign to reach even more serving and retired RAF personnel in need, something we simply could not do without the support of fundraisers like Simon and Daniel.” 

The RAF Benevolent Fund is the RAF’s leading welfare charity, providing emotional, financial and practical assistance to serving and retired RAF personnel and their families. 

If you would like to support Simon and Daniel, please visit https://archtoarc.org/ or donate via JustGiving.

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