In the last few months as an Air Training Corps cadet, Dave Blackwell (who is the RAFA Cannock Branch's Air Training Corps Liaison Officer) persuaded me to come and take a look at their Cannock branch, so I popped along one evening, and ended up joining.
The Cannock branch is determined and united on one thing - with most of them aged 60 and above, they want "young blood" in. People who will remember. People who will keep the RAFA going after they are gone.
Dave's idea was to train me up to take over his role, and also I was to be the gateway to bring in younger people from cadets - as much as I could with the rules being that no one under 18 can join.
Now, a year later, I am the Deputy Wings Officer under Joan. Three new members (family and friends) have joined.
The funding for the Battle of Britain Wings Appeal is going great, thanks to Joan. She's worked so hard trying to raise money, from bagpacks to raffles. She brings as many people as possible in to make it as public as possible.
Dave does a great deal with the Squadrons, attending as many Squadron events as he can and bringing people along. He also is trying to currently bring on two more Squadrons to our RAFA branch, making us associated with five different Squadrons in the area.
These two people do a major part of the work for our branch, and also are the ones I most interact with.
So, a couple of questions answered and a couple of photos:
What is the RAFA?
RAFA stands for the Royal Air Force Association. Its primary function is to remember those fallen in the service of the Royal Air Force and to continue supporting ex-servicemen and their families. Its website can be found here: http://www.rafa.org.uk/
What is the Battle of Britain Wings Appeal?
It commemorates the Battle of Britain while raising money for ex and current servicemen and their families.
What do I do?
As the Deputy Wings Officer, I'm to try and support Joan at as many events as she creates, and also to aid in finding shops to support bagpacks or collections for the Battle of Britain Memorial Day.
Here are some photos from a normal night at our monthly meeting of the branch: