Hands Up New Underpass Mural Is A Hit

The Underpass at RAF Halton is looking a little different nowadays…

Jan Holdsworth, Station Community Support Coordinator, organised a celebratory design to commemorate RAF100 to jazz up the walls of the underpass on Upper Icknield Way, with local artist Emma Bracken recruited to paint a mural.’

Jan spoke about the idea behind the mural. She said: “The theme behind the design is looking towards the future and recognising the past.”

The heart of the design features sunrays cascading outwards from an RAF roundel which represents both a rising and setting sun – a journey towards future ambition and hope, while also recognising the struggles and sacrifices made in the past.

Above the roundel are silhouettes of the aircraft, in formation, which were seen over Buckingham Palace during July’s RAF100 parade. Flying Officer Conor Maguire offered great support to the project in finalising the smaller details, including providing stencils of the aircraft to ensure maximum accuracy.

The bottom of the wall is covered with a canvas of grass-green handprints – a total of 100 pairs from members of the Halton community to represent the RAF’s centenary.

Outgoing Station Commander Group Captain James Brayshaw, OC Support Wing Jenny Hone and Station Warrant Officer Ian Giles were the first to decorate the wall with their handprints, followed by a selection of Whole Force RAF Halton personnel and 15 children from Halton Combined School. Mrs Julie Smith, who supported Jan to achieve this project, ensured everyone signed their handprint for posterity.

Written across part of the wall are the words: ‘The future is in your hands.’ This symbolises how each aspect of the community – young and old – influence how the future plays out. Jan Holdsworth also requested that the youngest recruit from RAF Halton placed their handprint on the wall along with the children from Halton Combined School, for the future of the RAF is literally in their hands.

Chief of the Air Staff, Sir Stephen Hillier, became the 100th pair of hands to be printed on the wall when he visited the impressive mural with new Station Commander, Group Captain Katherine Wilson.

Jan added: “I really hope the new wall brightens up the underpass and as personnel walk past they take a moment to read the names and appreciate the sentiment of the design.”

The finished mural is breath-taking and inspirational. Thanks must go to all of the people who helped to make this celebratory work of art a reality.

So, if you have a chance to go for a walk during your break, visit the underpass and enjoy!

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