Summer Social 2015 – A Game of Thrones

After Lunch - Group 1

After Lunch – Group photo 1

After Lunch - Group 2

After Lunch – Group photo 2

Although we swapped our usual Summer Social date from the first Wednesday in June to the third this year, we did not confuse the weather and the clear skies moved with us. The Pear Tree at Purton is no stranger to the Association, this is the third time we have held this event here and again, we were not disappointed with the food, service or ambiance of the venue.

As always, this popular event in the Associations calendar drew 34 members and guests, affording us a private dining room for the lunch. But first a pre lunch drink and natter to catch up with old friends and of course the infamous more prizes than tickets raffle organised by Sam Wright. Sam was once again overwhelmed with the number of donations, which resulted in a substantial £130 contribution to Association funds. Thanks to all who participated.

With such excellent seamless service and a delicious three course meal the afternoon just floated by. These lunches are very informal affairs but it seemed appropriate this year to round off the event with a little bit of Association business. Firstly it was time for our long serving President Dick Gould to hand over the title to the current, soon to be ex Chairman, Keith Chapman. Dick’s wise stewardship had been valuable and appreciated by the Committee and Members during his time as President, along with his humorous after dinner speeches. Many Thanks.

Our lunch also provided the first opportunity for us to meet the new OC XXIV Squadron, Daz Rawlins who took over earlier this year. Daz was able to give us an update on the latest Squadron news, happily now flying again after the compulsory 5 week grounding of the A400M Atlas. XXIV still keeps the record for operating the most different types of aircraft of any Squadron in history thanks to the addition of the C130J and the A400M to its inventory. No better confirmation as to of the calibre of the personnel on the Squadron could be shown than by them picking up 5 out of the 13 Queens Commendations awarded to Brize Norton.

Before Daz departed to collect another aircraft from the manufacturers, he explained with regret why they could not offer the Association as many places as originally expected at the Centenary Dining In Night. This was tempered with the news that the Families and Friends event on Saturday the 12th September, with 3 aircraft types to fly in, live bands and a barbeque would make up for any disappointments.

Our final after lunch announcement was from Nick Yerbury and his offer to guide any interested Members of Guests around the former RAF airfield of Blakehill, around 4 miles away from Purton. It was an unusual airfield in that it was set up for only one aircraft type, the Dakota during key operations during WWII. A certain part of the site was in later years covertly used by GCHQ before the runways and peri tracks finally became recycled and used during construction of the M4. It is now under stewardship of the Wiltshire Wildlife Trust.

While all this was going on, sitting quietly and not making any fuss or bother but basking in its own radiance was Centenary Silver Cup, on public display for the first time. With its lovingly engraved inscription and Squadron crest, all agreed it represented a fitting and lasting tribute to grace the table at the forthcoming dinner. A worthy and much appreciated gift thanks to the generosity of all Association Members donations over the last 10 years.

Centenary Cup showing Crest

Centenary Cup showing Crest

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