Halton and London 2012
RAF Halton has been busy preparing for the Olympic Games nationally in terms of defence and locally supporting the Council’s events.
The Torch – Locally RAF Halton supported Aylesbury Vale District Council in their planning for the Olympic Torch Relay. The torch, on its way to Stoke Mandeville Stadium, home of the Paralympics, made its way through Aylesbury and RAF Halton was out in force to ensure its safe passage. Physical Training Instructors and Servicemen Awaiting Trade Training (SATT’s) lined parts of the route to ensure that the crowds did not converge too tightly upon the torch as it went past. Additionally they were on hand to the public to answer questions and talk about RAF Halton.Aircraftswoman Natalie Cawood-Tasker (17) from Skipton, Yorkshire, was part of the route-lining party. She said: “I play netball so I’m excited about seeing that in the Olympics. The torch relay is a big day for everyone because it means a lot to the country so I’m really happy to be taking part.”
Later in the Games calendar, the local area will take the international limelight at Stoke Mandeville Stadium for the Paralympics Flame Festival. RAF Halton will again be supporting this event with personnel in a variety of roles.
Ceremonial Duties – Two Non-Commissioned Officers from RAF Halton have had even closer ties with the Olympics. Sergeant Suneil Raval, was involved in the opening ceremony as one of the Service Personnel selected to carry the flag in the Choreographed remembrance to the Armed Forces and Corporal Sarah Russell, was selected to represent the Royal Air Force in Ceremonial Duties at the Olympics. Sarah was chosen because of her exceptional work within the welfare sphere.
She originally developed a joint idea of Storybook Dads in 2007 run for prison inmates to record familiar stories which are then edited with music and sound effects and placed on a CD for their children to listen to by seeing the potential for use by those deployed with the RAF. Sarah’s Storybook Wings gained in popularity and was adopted by the Royal Air Force Association (RAFA) who were able to take the project to a national level.
Having applied for ceremonial duties whilst serving in Afghanistan, Sarah was delighted to have been selected and said: “I’ll be detached to London for two and a half months. The team I am on is doing ceremonial duties in the Olympic Village to welcome the Athletes from around the world. We will then have the role of raising the flags.” When asked about how it feels to be participating in such a high profile role in the Olympic Games Sarah said: “I am very proud to be selected just as I am every time I do a parade in the RAF.” She added: “Even though I’ll be close to home I won’t be able to ‘pop’ back so I’ll be making a Storybook Wings for my children, Jake (10) and Laura (7).”
Colouring the Olympics – Cpl Kelly Hamilton came up with an idea after watching a poignant programme about the Berlin heart mechanical heart assist, which is used at Great Ormond Street Hospital to support children in heart failure, either until recovery or until a transplant is possible. She ran a fundraising event aimed at children in the Station and local community. She decided that along with this worthy charity, any monies raised should be split 50/50 together with the RAF Benevolent Fund as they provide assistance to the RAF family, when they are in need.
So the idea to hold an Olympic themed colouring/drawing competition, to be split down into different age categories was born. The response was fantastic with many colourful and creative pictures being entered. ESS kindly sponsored the event and donated vouchers for the lucky winners – to be spent at a choice of many high street stores. The winning pictures from each age category (chosen by the RTS Admin office staff) can be seen here in Mainpoint magazine. Well done and thank you to everyone that took part, raising a considerable amount for two very important charities – Cpl Kelly Hamilton.
(2-6 yr old category)
Winner = Emilie Ashmore, Age 4. Runner up = Heather Brown, Age 3).
(7-10 yr old category)
Winner = Maddison Ashmore, Age 7. Runner up = Finn Schaer, Age 9).
RAF Halton PTIs were also inspiration at the Halton Combined School in the build up to the London 2012 Games by organising the School’s very own Mini-Olympics. It featured multiple events with the kids loving the fun competitive spirit that the PTIs brought to the afternoon sports day.