On 1 April 2018, the 100th birthday of the RAF, I was honoured to be alongside Association President Sir Baz North for a very special event. Before the RAF’s centenary church service at St Clement Danes in London, at a breakfast ceremony in Whitehall, Air Chief Marshal Sir Stephen Hillier, Chief of the Air Staff, signed a statement on behalf of the Air Force Board re-dedicating the RAF to the Association. This is the third such re-dedication by the RAF, the last one being some 25 years ago. It recognises the Association’s ‘continued dedication to the welfare of serving and former RAF personnel and their families … and the enduring importance of our shared relationship in looking after our greatest asset, our people.’ The dedication, which is now hanging for all visitors to read in the Volant Suite at Atlas House in Leicester, went on to ‘thank every one of your members for ensuring that our family feels supported and is treated with dignity and respect at all times.’
On 2 May the RAF Association was also honoured, with a royal visit. His Royal Highness the Duke of Gloucester visited Atlas House to meet RAF Association trustees, area representatives, directors, members of local branches, beneficiaries – residents of Wexford House – and cadets from 2070 (Glenfield) Squadron and 1461 (Wigston) Squadron. As well as talking to members and beneficiaries about support for the RAF family, he toured the building to meet employees and find out more about their work.
And while I come to it last, it is by no means least. The energy and dynamism that I have seen powering our own celebrations of the centenary of the RAF – across branches and stations in the UK and the rest of the world and from individual members – is phenomenal. You will see reports of it on most of the coming pages of the magazine, and opportunities to join in even more. As Air Mail comes out, the national celebrations will be reaching a peak with the parade and flypast at Buckingham Palace and nationwide city collections for the RAF100 Appeal. Let’s bottle all this and use it to sustain us as we take the Association forward for the next 100 years of the RAF.