the challenge


In April 2024, a team of 4 Air Traffic Controllers will complete a motorcycle ride from Aberdeen to Gibraltar, visiting every NATS and NATS Solutions Air Traffic Control Unit raising money for 2 charities in their own time.

The riders, Wayne Clarke from Aberdeen Airport, Richard Fell, Shaun Bellairs-Wray and Harvey McVicar from Swanwick Area Control Centre all have experience of long distance touring in the UK and Europe. 

This trip, “The BigTour, 24 in 2024” will raise funds for the Solidarity Wings Fund @ Aerobility and Prostate Cancer UK.

We are supporting the Solidarity Wings Fund @ Aerobility as part of the ongoing relationship between NATS and Prospect NATS ATCOs Branch. 

Prostate Cancer UK is a charity of great personal significance to Wayne and the Aberdeen Control Tower Staff.  An ex-staff member from the unit passed away in May 2023 from the disease, having been diagnosed in 2021.  His diagnosis shocked staff at the unit and the whole team feel that raising awareness of prostate cancer across the wider NATS/NATS Solutions businesses.  If knowledge of this tragic situation makes any male staff member get a PSA check, and avoid this awful disease then we consider this a success.

Our plan is to spend at least an hour at each unit to meet staff, see how they operate and hopefully raise donations. 

Units that would not ordinarily be visited by colleagues from other areas of the ATC community due to location, we consider to be an essential destination as part of the challenge, and a great opportunity for those staff to engage directly with the event, rather than just read about it. We hope to raise awareness through NATS media channels.

We would like to extend the invitation to any personnel who are bikers to join us on the journey and ride one or more of the legs with us and plan to publicise this widely.  We will be joined by some special guests on certain legs (to be confirmed).

We depart Aberdeen on Sunday 14th April and arrive in Gibraltar on Thursday 25th April.

We will depart Gibraltar for the UK on the 26th April arriving back in Portsmouth on 29th April ahead of our final days riding on the 30th. We visit the 3 final units finishing at NATS Corporate HQ and Western Radar at Whiteley.   The official end of “The BigTour, 24 in 2024”. 

This challenge is an opportunity; not only to raise much needed funds for the charities, but to raise NATS’ profile to a wider audience.

The team will publish a daily report for NATS HUB and social media; Instagram or Facebook.

We are under no illusions as to the magnitude of the challenge. The trip will be demanding, the approximate road distance is 3000 miles with 4 ferries, but the itinerary is designed so that the daily mileages are manageable with fatigue/meal breaks built in.  The unit visits will be an opportunity to relax and recharge.  A spare day in the UK leg for delays such as Northern Ireland ferry delay/cancellations and possible re-routes has been built in.   The only non-negotiable element is the Santander Ferry which only runs twice weekly. 

We would like to thank the following organisations who are supporting TheBigTour, 24 in 2024. 

Triumph UK Motorcycles, who are providing us with 4 motorcycles for the event.

British Superbike race team, OMG Racing, who are promoting our event on their website and podcasts as well as offering to host upon arrival in Spain. 

You can find out more information by contacting us via email [email protected] … and can donate directly using our JustGiving pages for each charity together with QR codes. 

Our wish would be for donations to be made to each charity equally but we recognise that people may want to donate to a single charity.  We leave that choice to you.  

Thank you for your support.

Wayne Clarke
Richard Fell
Harvey McVicar
Shaun Bellairs-Wray

raising money for prostate cancer uk & aerobility

ATCOs' Branch

A big thank you to triumph UK motorcycles
for their support