Presidents Update – December 2023

Dear Ladies and Gentlemen of the Red Arrows Association,

As 2023 rapidly nears its end, on behalf of the Association committee, I would firstly like to wish you, your families and loved ones a very happy and peaceful Christmas time, as well as all the very best for a prosperous New Year and 2024.

As your committee, we are extremely aware that it has been a long time (far too long) since we were able to hold a large-scale Association event but several issues – including: the pandemic/ lockdown; the relocation of the RAFAT from Scampton to Waddington; and the considerable (adverse) national media focus/ publicity on the Team and its personnel – have conspired against us over the past 3 years or so.

Our highest priority for 2024, which will also mark the RAFAT’s 60th display season, is therefore to ensure that we manage to hold some form of reunion that will be accessible to as many RAA members as possible. At this stage we are envisaging an event that could coincide with one of the UK’s major Airshows. We are very mindful of the (reducing) ability and, perhaps, desire of many of our members to travel significant distances and that geographically, whilst we have all regions of the UK cornered, many of our numbers are based in and around the Lincolnshire and South West regions; we will relay further information about what that event could look like as soon as we have any, such that you can plan accordingly.

This coming year will also see a changing of the guard within the RAA committee; after many, many years of dedicated effort and outstanding service to the Association since its very beginning, both Ian Blake (Secretary) and Craig Rouse (initially Treasurer and, more lately, Webmaster) will stand down from their positions. Later in the year, our current Treasurer, John White, will also enter a very hard-earned ‘full’ retirement. Ian and Craig have been the rocks upon which the Association was built and I cannot overstate their contributions and the gratitude we owe them. Similarly, John has played a vital role over the past couple of years for which I also add my thanks.  We have a replacement lined up to take over from Ian as Sec, the name of whom we will announce in due course, but we are looking for any volunteers from the membership to assume the Treasurer and Webmaster roles – your chance to influence what we do and how we do it! – so please get in touch with any of us on the committee if you are able to offer any assistance at all; Your Association Needs You!

So, for now once again, have a joyous, relaxing and restful festive season and I hope to be catching up with many of you during next year.

With very best wishes,

Mark Northover

Association President

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