Leeds' Jacob the Pilot shortlisted for national award after raising £43,000 for RAF charity

A young boy from Leeds has been shortlisted for a national award after raising more than £43,000 for an RAF charity.

Little Jacob Newsam, known as Jacob the Pilot, is up for an award in the Above and Beyond category of the RAF Benevolent Fund’s annual awards.

The seven-year old, from Methley, began his fundraising efforts back in 2019, when he and dad Andy climbed Pen-y-Ghent.

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The following year, in 2020, Jacob and his dad walked 30 miles in two days from RAF Manston in Ramsgate to the Battle of Britain Memorial in Folkestone.

Little Jacob Newsam, from Methley, has been shortlisted in the Above and Beyond category of the RAF Benevolent Fund’s annual awards. Photo: RAF Benevolent Fund

In June of this year, he completed the Three Peaks challenge, raising more than £50,000 for St Gemma’s Hospice, who cared for his his mum Andrea in her last weeks.

She died of breast cancer in December last year at the age of 49.

In August of this year, the pair. who live in Methley, also took on the challenge of climbing Ben Nevis.

Dad Andy said: "After Jacob climbed the Yorkshire Three Peaks earlier this year, we decided we wanted an even harder challenge, and Nevis was the obvious choice as it’s the UK’s highest mountain.

Jacob Newsam. SWNS.

"Jacob was so excited when we passed the clouds and reached the summit – but the toughest part was definitely coming back down!

“We were delighted when we found out Jacob had been shortlisted for an award – it’s the perfect opportunity for Jacob to wear his RAF No.1s and it’s lovely to see his hard work is being recognised.

"We’re considering Mount Kilimanjaro next year, which would make Jacob the youngest boy in the UK to summit the mountain, if we can secure some corporate funding or sponsorship.”

Jacob and Andy were inspired to fundraise after the Red Arrows surprised the wannabe pilot at the Royal International Air Tattoo in 2019.

Andy posted a tweet asking any pilots and officers in uniform to return Jacob’s salute, and the tweet quickly went viral coming to the attention of the RAF’s aerobatic display team who pulled off the ultimate surprise.

Jason Shauness, Director of Fundraising and Communications at the RAF Benevolent Fund, said: “Jacob is certainly one of our youngest fundraisers but he hasn’t let his age affect his ambitions, and he truly embodies the spirit of the Above and Beyond category.

"The RAF Benevolent Fund exists to support the whole of the RAF Family, whenever they need us.

"But we wouldn’t be able to provide this level of assistance without dedicated fundraisers like Jacob who go the extra mile to support our mission.”

The RAF Benevolent Fund Awards is now in its ninth year.

The annual awards ceremony celebrates the outstanding contributions of the fundraisers, volunteers and partners who support the charity.

The 2021 awards will take place on Thursday October 21 at Plaisterers’ Hall in London.

The RAF Benevolent Fund is the RAF’s leading welfare charity, providing practical, financial, and emotional support to RAF personnel, veterans, and their partners and dependants.