Wing Officers Dine In
Flt Lt Val Smith is presented with flowers and momento to thank her for her service to her squadron, the wing and the Corps
The Officers of South and East Midlands Wing held their Annual Dining In Night at Royal Air Force Wittering Officers’ Mess hosted by Wing Commander Nigel Dickinson OBE RAFVR and graced by the attendance, as honoured guests, of Air Commodore Gary Waterfall CBE OBE RAF and Air Marshall Philip Sturley CBE MBE RAF (Rtd)
By Kind permission of the Station Commander, Group Captain Damian Alexander RAF, who was also a guest, around thirty Officers from across the Wing joined together for an evening of good food and good company.
The highlight of the evening was an honest and eloquent speech from Air Commodore Gary Waterfall, a great supporter of the Wing. He reminded those present that, while they were sipping their port, members of the armed forces were on deployment in many places, prepared to put their lives on the line in the name of freedom. Turning to the Air Cadet Organisation, the Air Commodore expressed his opinion that, now branded within the Royal Air Force Community, the Organisation was giving “exceptional” value for money. He believed that the target for recruiting could be met and possibly exceeded and that he Volunteer Staff, the Organisation’s “Centre og Gravity”, was the driving and motivational force, without which the Organisation would not be what it is today.
Before introducing the Air Commodore and following the Loyal Toast, The Wing’s Commanding Officer Wing Commander Nigel Dickinson, opened his address with thanks for the meal and service so well provided under the control of the Mess Manager. He also thanked Civilian Instructor Frances Tatlow from Melton Mowbray Squadron, who provided music played very professionally on her harp throughout the meal.
Air Commodore Waterfall tries the Harp watched by CI Frances Tatlow
The Wing Commander went on to mention some of the successes during the past year that have made the wing, one of the best in the Country and expressed his pride in commanding such a successful, thriving and innovative wing. He paid tribute to the hard working and dedicated staff of volunteers involved at all levels in all of the wing’s disciplines.
The Wing has had to say farewell to two of it’s stalwarts, Flight Lieutenant Val Smith who is standing down as Officer Commanding 1084 (Market Harborough) Squadron. Val’s long and distinguished time in post has witnessed great success throughout the Corps with the squadron’s band, winners of the National Marching Band Competition for the last two years and going for the unprecedented third win at the 2013 Championships. Also leaving to pursue his civilian career, Flying Officer Michael Nash will be missed for his enthusiasm and drive in pushing forward the Wing’s success in the field of radio communication.
Presentations were made during the proceedings: Flight Lieutenant James Roberts was presented with his Cadet Forces Medal marking his long and outstanding career as an Officer in the Corps. Flight Lieutenant Julie Rayston Flynn was presented with the clasp to her Cadet Forces Medal.
Various presentations were made to the honoured guests and Julie Holton, for many years the wing’s champion within the supply world, was presented with a bouquet of flowers in thanks for her support.
The night was organised with his usual eye for detail by the Wing’s Executive Officer, Squadron Leader John Hill MBE, who was also thanked by the Wing Commander.