Air Training Corps (ATC) staff and cadets from South and East Midlands Wing have raised £500 for the local Royal Air Forces Association (RAFA) in memory of a local airman killed in Iraq.
Leading Aircraftsman (LAC) Martin Beard of Rainworth, Nottinghamshire, was killed in Basra on 7 August 2007 whilst serving with No. 1 Sqn, Royal Air Force Regiment. He and his family were known by a number of staff and cadets from the Nottinghamshire area through school and his sister, who was a cadet in the ATC for many years. Following his death, friends and family set up the Martin Beard Memorial Fund which raised money in memory of Martin for a number of charities as well as dedicating an acre of woodland in memory of him. A total of £7000 was raised by the fund which closed on 22 August 2008.
Plt Off Jack Stepanian, Plt Off Ashley Rudd, and Sgt Dan Haywood at the halfway point of the Robin Hood Half Marathon.
During this period, and continuing after, a number of staff and cadets of South and East Midlands Wing set up a number of initiatives to raise money in memory of LAC Beard which culminated in the presentation of £488 to Erewash RAFA in January 2009.
The bulk of this amount was raised by 3 members of ATC adult staff running the Robin Hood Half Marathon. Pilot Officers Jack Stepanian, OIC 2195 (Long Eaton) Sqn, and Ashley Rudd, 504 (West Nottingham) Sqn, as well as Sergeant Dan Haywood, 209 (West Bridgford) Sqn, ran the entire half marathon in DPM uniform whilst carrying weighted rucksacks and raised a total of £320 in sponsorship. Sergeant Haywood (who is ex RAF Regiment himself) said “Although it was hard work it was for a good cause. Luckily I’ve kept myself at a good level of fitness since my time in the RAF Regiment and I’m very happy to be able to help such a cause”.
Ray Nobel (Chairman, Erewash RAFA) and Plt Off Jack Stepanian shake hands after the presentation of a cheque for £488 to the Erewash Branch of RAFA.
Further money was raised primarily through the efforts of Warrant Officer Rob Phillips of 1936 (Newton) Sqn, who coordinated the fundraising effort throughout South and East Midlands Wing, as well as 1947 (Birstall) Sqn, and 348 (Ilkeston) Squadron who also made donations. Warrant Officer Phillips commented “I’m very glad to see such a good level of support in memory of LAC Beard from all over the Wing”.
By Plt Off Jack Stepanian, OIC 2195 (Long Eaton) Sqn.