Branch coming back

AFTER 60 years of service an RAF association looked set to close down – until some eleventh hour volunteers stepped in to the breach. The Letchworth GC, Hitchin and District branch of the Royal Air Forces Association formed in 1946 and has been caring fo

AFTER 60 years of service an RAF association looked set to close down - until some eleventh hour volunteers stepped in to the breach.

The Letchworth GC, Hitchin and District branch of the Royal Air Forces Association formed in 1946 and has been caring for serving and retired members of the RAF ever since.

But recently it seemed to be close to extinction.

Chairman John Channell told The Comet: "Our treasurer, secretary and Wings appeal officer were all retiring.


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"Without anyone to step up and take those titles we couldn't operate, we didn't have a committee.

"We'd been having meetings every second Thursday of the month but we couldn't get the new committee members. We were devastated."

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But at the AGM meeting four new volunteers came from nowhere to offer their services.

Mr Channell said: "I'd never seen them before. But they'd read how we were packing in, in our newsletter, and turned up."

Husband and wife Hedley and Jennifer Parkin jointly took on the role of secretary, Ernie Brown became vice-chairman and Ken Needham took on the duties of treasurer.

"It's wonderful because after operating for 60 years it would have been a great pity to close. We have renewed vigour now," Mr Channell said.

"We'd like to thank the people who retired, Dennis Dawson, Pam Dawson and Alan Wright, they have done a great service for us."

The branch collects for the annual RAF Wings appeal in September, marking the Battle of Britain, and looks after the welfare of its 178 members.

Mr Channell, who retired from the RAF in 1975 after nearly 30 years' service, said: "It's comradeship as well. It's a social occasion once a month. We'd miss all that.

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