Friday, 27 November 2015

A Birthday Surprise

Members of the Durham/Northumberland Wing Band surprised a former RAF Sergeant on his 60th Birthday today at his nursing home, Covent House in Birtley. 

Brian Davis, who served for 9 years with RAF and is a veteran of the Falklands campaign, suffered injuries in an accident a few years ago and all he talks about according to Linda Trainer, one of the team at Covent House, is his life in the RAF.

So by arrangement with the Royal Air Forces Association and their representative our very own Wing Commander Dave Harris, Linda asked if it would be possible for an RAF band to make a surprise visit to Brian on his birthday. 

With the Wing Commander knowing he could make this wish come true, all be it with his very own ATC Wing Band, which had just returned the night before from the ATC National Band Competition at RAF Halton (where they came a very credible 3rd).

The arrangements were made and finalised literally with a couple of hours to spare and 5 members of the band, from 3 different squadrons, under the command of Sgt (ATC) Darren Taylor came together to surprise Brian on this special day.
Cpl Owen McPake (Clarinet), Cdt Sam Dawson (Trombone) and Cdt William Fletcher (Tenor Sax) all from 361 (Gateshead) Sqn were joined by Cdt Thomas Wilkinson (Trumpet) from 1313 (Whickham) Sqn and Sgt Callum Hartwell from 346 (Tynemouth) Sqn.

With the help of some last minute logistical support from Flt Sgt (ATC) Kevin Laws also of 361 Sqn, the band members marched down the corridor to a very surprised Brian. 

The band then struck up with a very special arrangement of HAPPY BIRTHDAY, turning Brian to tears. The band finished off with one more piece of music before leaving him to enjoy the rest of his celebrations.

All the members of the Durham/Northumberland Wing Band wish Brian “Many Happy Returns” on his 60th Birthday and thank you to Wing Commander Harris for arranging this surprise and allowing the band to be part of this very special occasion.

Wednesday, 25 November 2015

The National Band Competition at RAF Halton

Last weekend, three cadets from 361 Squadron attended the National Band Competition at RAF Halton. All three are members of of the Durham/Northumberland Wing Band which was representing North Region against the other five regions of the Air Training Corps. 

The band which is formed of cadets from the 35 squadrons in Durham/Northumberland Wing was only formed within the last two years, and it was a major achievement to reach the National Finals in such a short time.

The 361 Cadets, Cpl Owen McPake (Clarinet), Cdt Sam Dawson (Trombone) and Cdt William Fletcher (Tenor Sax) all performed in the main band competition where the Wing Band were awarded a very credible third place, whilst Cdt Dawson also represented the Region in the Solo Side Drum contest.

Cdt Sam Dawson looking very happy with the Commandant of the Air Cadet Organisation, Air Cdre Dawn McCafferty and Honorary Ambassador, Gp Capt Carol Vorderman at the recent National Band Competition.