More than 100 guests stood shoulder to shoulder with veterans at an evening to celebrate the contribution that they and current Armed Forces service personnel make to the community of North Kesteven.
In its tenth year, the annual presentation of Veteran’s Badges saw pin badges awarded to 12 people in recognition of the service they have given to the British Army, Royal Navy and Royal Air Force over the years.
These included a 92-year-old Normandy Veteran who received a standing ovation and a Falklands War veteran.
In making the formal presentation of the Veteran’ Badges, RAF Cranwell’s Station Commander Air Commodore Chris Luck said it was ‘right and fitting’ that all veterans’ service was recognised on Armed Forces Day.
Among the 12 recipients, there was representation of service in almost every year spanning 62 years from 1942 to 2004.
“This badge reflects on the special bond that exists between those that serve, those that have served and all those that will service in future years. It is clear that all of our lives are enriched by their service and the experience they bring to our communities and wider society.
“I feel humbled by your service,” Air Commodore Luck told the veterans.
There is destined to be a Veteran’s Evening in 2016, despite the council handing out almost 600 badges on the past decade and all retiring personnel now automatically receiving theirs when they leave service.
RAF Digby’s outgoing Station Commander Wing Commander Sam Watts reflected the two-way relationship of Armed Forces Day celebrations, in that it allows Forces personnel to say thank you.
to the communities which support them.
“We have all felt such genuine warmth, from the people of Lincolnshire and North Kesteven in particular, at all times. There is a genuine connection between local people and the RAF, Army, Air Force, Navy and US Marines based at Digby, without which I would not have been able to do my job.”
Also rewarded for their efforts in bringing colour to make Armed Forces Week were Ryan Leigh, aged 11, from Church Lane Primary School in Sleaford whose poster design was the overall winner from 108 entries.
Two Sleaford businesses were also awarded for their window displays, judged the best from among 19 official competition entries. These were St Andrew’s Hospice charity shop on Southgate and the Market Place Café.
Judges had also been especially impressed by the AgeUK, Kaytzart and Bobbies Sweet Temptations windows.
The evening – which included music from RAF Cranwell’s Spitfire Choir, the Billinghay Ruffs and Tennyson Collective – was compered by Sqn Ldr Howard Leader, an RAF reservist with 7644 Squadron of the Royal Air Force, who has a Sunday evening show with BBC Radio Lincolnshire.
Veteran’s Badge recipients were:
Mark Bamford of Sleaford, served with the RAF from 1980 to 1996 and who is now Vice-Principal at St George’s Academy in Sleaford.
Steve Evans of South Rauceby, NKDC’s own Facilities Officer, who served with the RAF from 1975 to 2004.
Noel Anthony Garner, of Lincoln, in the RAF Police from 1974 to 1996.
Trevor Glenn of Billinghay, of the Billinghay Ruffs, who served with the Navy, PT branch from 1974 to 1989 including the Falklands conflict.
Alan James Kennedy of Ruskington, who served with the RAF as an Electronic Technician between 1967 and 1979.
Cyril William Prior of Sleaford who served in the Royal Navy from 1944 to 1947, including service on the Arctic Convoys. Mr Prior’s wife collect the badge on his behalf.
Philip Richards of Sleaford, served with the RAF Music Services between 1988 and 2000. His badge was collected by fellow Sleaford Concert Band member Mike Lock.
James Robert Spencer of Peterborough, served with the Army RASC from 1942 to 1947 and is a Normandy Veteran. Mr Spencer is the oldest veteran this year at 92.
Bruce Pinder of North Kyme, served with the Royal Navy from 1950 to 1962.
Susan Waring from Leasingham, an NKDC Councillor, served in the Army Intelligence Unit from 1962 to 1966.
Chris Evans of Ruskington, served with the RAF, 1986 to 1999 as an MT Driver.
Judith Guerin of Cranwell Village.
Badges will also be given to:
Dr Jack Walker of Leasingham served with the Army RAMC from 1955 to 1962; Eran Bauer of Ashby de la Launde, who served with the Army Parachute Regiment from 1972 to 1978; Stephen Anderson, from North Leverton, served in the RAF from 1971 to 1996 and Kenneth Frederick Norton of Scredington who had various roles in the RAF between 1953 and 1968, including being a Halton Apprentice 1953 to 1956 and an RAF Engine Fitter from 1956 to 1968.