In the lead up to Armed Forces Day in Shropshire, eight local businesses and organisations visited RAF Shawbury for a special behind the scenes tour.
The aim of the visit was to increase awareness of the role of the Armed Forces in Shropshire and to promote the Armed Forces Covenants. All of the visiting organisations have declared their support for the Armed Forces by supporting the Covenant.
The visitors included representatives from St Chad’s Church, Alan Ward Furniture, Hawk Group, the Mercure Albrighton Hotel and Spa, Wace Morgan Solicitors, Mears Shropshire Home Services, Greenhous Nissan, and Shropshire Council.
The visitors were welcomed by the Station Commander, Group Captain Jason Appleton with a presentation about the role of RAF Shawbury, past and present and the Defence Helicopter Flying School. The visit included a tour of the School of Air Operations Control where the latest radar and visual simulators were viewed before the guests tried their hand at flying a Squirrel helicopter- in the simulator!
After lunch in the Officers’ Mess and an opportunity to talk to aircrew and air traffic control students, the visit continued with a visit to the Aircraft Maintenance and Storage Unit. This unit is the largest military storage unit in the UK and undertakes the major servicing of the Red Arrows Hawk aircraft.
The visit finished with a tour of the Station Learning Facility and Community Centre to show the support that is available on base to the military community.
David Fairclough, from the Community Enablement and Armed Forces Covenant Team at Shropshire Council said: “To be effective the Covenant requires commitment and co-operation from a wide range of organisations such as Local Authorities, NHS, Job Centre Plus, Schools and Colleges, all manner of other service providers and private and commercial companies such as those visiting RAF Shawbury today. I am delighted at the diversity of local Shropshire businesses who wish to support our Armed Forces. Their generosity and willingness to sign the Armed Forces Covenant is a testament to the growing support our Armed Forces are receiving and we hope this trend continues in the long term’’.
Mr Paul Allman, Director – General Manager of Hawk Plant Hire said: “It was fantastic to visit RAF Shawbury and view the high quality military training establishment we have on our door-step. By signing the Armed Forces Covenant, we are delighted to be able to demonstrate our support for the Armed Forces community and we look forward to a long and valuable partnership with service members and their loved ones.”
Group Captain Jason Appleton, Station Commander at RAF Shawbury said: “As we approach Armed Forces Day on 25th June, it has been a pleasure to welcome our guests to RAF Shawbury. This event has been an excellent way to say thank you to those businesses that support the Armed Forces Covenants and for all the support from the community that allows us to deliver world-leading training at RAF Shawbury.”