Royal Air Forces Association Harrogate and District Branch

THE annual dinner at the Ascot House Hotel on November 4 was much enjoyed.

Mr Peter Cooper gave the Dedication and Grace and proposed a toast to Absent Friends. The Loyal Toast to the Queen was led by Mr Steve Dale. A toast to the Royal Air Force and Honoured Guest was given by Air Commodore Adrian Impey, president, who praised the manager and staff of the Ascot Hotel for a superb meal. Thanks were due to Jean, Elva, Lin and the other ladies who involve themselves in this feast.

He welcomed our RAFLO Doug Lee and his wife, from Linton on Ouse, who had also attended other RAFA fundraising events and ceremonies at Harrogate and Stonefall. Sqn Ldr (Retd) Derek Walker had listed the results of this year's Wings Appeal. The treasurer, Peter Cooper, and all who worked hard for the RAFA Wings Appeal deserved special thanks; as did Coun John Wren and his wife, Paula, whose collections at several local stores had raised 1,200. Steve Dale had raised 600 in sponsorship for his part in the Great North Run.

Street collections at Wetherby were: 451.23 and at Harrogate, Pateley Bridge and Knaresborough: 2,001.35

Collections at Stores: Jennyfields Coop 661.88; Chain Lane Coop 725.02; Morrisons 1,295.45; Focus 466.93;

Asda 778.78; Sainsburys 1,529.13.

Contributions: ATC Squadrons - 35 (Wetherby) 293.59; - 58 (Harrogate) 440.33

Donations: 3,011.10; Total 10,920.97

As president, he had been presented with a certificate from the chairman Brian Wilkie, on behalf of the Central Council to mark the fact that over 10,000 had also been raised in 2004 under Ray Kidd's leadership.

Air Commodore Impey welcomed Mr Fred Wilson OBE QPM and his wife, Sheila, as Honoured Guests. Mr Wilson said he recognised many faces he had been privileged to know over the years in the Royal Air Forces Association, especially those who had contributed to this evening's success. He congratulated Harrogate and District RAFA for raising the huge amount of 10,920 for the 2005 Wings Appeal, which had been raised by a diminishing number of people.

Mr Wilson outlined his career from when he joined the Police Force at the age of 16. At 18, he did his National Service in the Provost Branch. As Chief Inspector at Crook, he was invited to judge the Miss RAFA competition. Later he became actively involved with RAFA and was invited to become vice-president, and soon afterwards entrusted with the job of president.

Ten years later he became North East Area president, a great honour. He went on to tell one or two tales about the sharper points of police work related to his work as a detective, with cases which included murder and attempted murder. Mr Brian Wilkie thanked Mr Wilson for his speech. He also thanked Peter Cooper, treasurer, the RAFA Committee and their ladies; and Coun John and Paula Wren for their considerable help with the Wings Collections, saying it was the same few people who had helped to achieve such good results.

The RAF Liaison Officers had come back safely from overseas service and were doing a marvellous job. We should be proud of what our diminishing Air Force is achieving. He also welcomed Moira and Joan, who were keen darts players, as new members. Brian Wilkie mentioned some “activities” between Waddington and Scampton when he was in action in tbe RAF.

It is hard to convey the good humour and friendliness that is mixed with the more formal aspects of an annual dinner, but the many smiling faces told their own story.