Air traffic controller is pedalling to Scotland

NATS employee and Hampshire based air traffic controller, Colin Green, is currently cycling from Swanwick Control Centre to Prestwick Control Centre, in memory of colleague and friend Tim Jenkins who passed away last December after a short battle with cancer.

Colin set out from Swanwick yesterday (26 May) and is hoping to reach Prestwick in just six days, covering 495 miles in total. To make the challenge even tougher, he will cycle totally unsupported, with no accompanying vehicles and no hotels or indoor accommodation.

Colin has trained by getting in as many miles as possible on his bike, largely at night so as not to disturb home-schooling his daughter. Since December, training has included carrying all of the equipment he needs to travel with to get used to the extra weight. He’ll be carrying the kit ‘bike-packing’ style and camping en route, using a minimalist ‘tarp and bivvi’ set up, as this will be lighter and more flexible.

Born and bred in East Ayrshire, Colin has always liked to challenge himself and push his physical boundaries and after riding the South Downs Way in a day, twice, for the British Heart Foundation, wanted to try something different. Covid restrictions prevented him from doing this particular challenge last year.

Colin said, “Tim and I began air traffic controller training at the NATS college, which used to be based in Bournemouth, back in 2008; subsequently we were both posted to Terminal Control at the Swanwick Centre. We then moved to different parts of the business, but I’d regularly bump into Tim, whether in work or out on group rides with a local mountain bike group. Cycling always ended up being the topic of conversation.

“He was a good friend and colleague to many and is very missed. By doing this challenge, which is fitting as we used to cycle together, I hope to raise £1000 for Transplant Sport in Tim’s name.”

Transplant Sport UK aims to raise awareness of the need for organ donation in the UK and worldwide. Through organising sports and social events for transplant recipients, the charity shows the benefits of organ donation and proves that you people can lead a normal and active life again after transplantation.

Colin will be updating his personal Facebook and Instagram accounts, so family and friends can keep in touch, and is using the virgin money page to update everyone on his daily progress.