After a few full weeks of displays the team spent the first part of the week getting ourselves ready for one of the biggest events of the display season for us, the Blades Summer Ball, all arranged by us(!), in aid of the Royal Air Forces Association’s Wings Appeal – our current partner.
The Blades Ball this year involved displays from the wingwalking team, a Battle of Britain Memorial Flight Spitfire and, of course, The Blades as well as flying more than 170 people during the flying champagne reception.
Our guests flew in a range of aircraft from Tiger Moths to 8-seater Dragon Rapide’s and helicopters and the subsequent charity auction held on the night in aid of the Wings Appeal raised over £60,000 for the Service charity.
Prepping for the ball and organising the logistics of hundreds of people all going flying at the same time out of Sywell within a two hour period is no mean feat but, combined with the displays, is without a doubt the thing that makes our summer balls really special.
In addition to the display at the ball we also flew up north to fly at the Cleethorpes Armed Forces Day celebrations helping to fly the flag to honour our service men and women.
Following that the team flew down to the RAF Musical Salute to the Queen’s Jubilee at Loseley Park in Guildford before transiting up to Sywell to close the flying reception for the ball. Despite the wind and rain, everyone enjoyed the air displays and the flights and at least the weather conditions kept the on-hand hairdresser busy after our female guests returned from taking to the skies.
Last year our ball raised £50,000 for the Wings Appeal and we were so pleased to be able to top that this year.
We had some fantastic prizes donated including rare wine lots, an Aston Martin Racing Tour, flights with The Blades in formation with a two-seater Spitfire and an exclusive weekend package in Scotland including tickets to see Van Morrison.
The money raised for the Wings Appeal will help to support any serving and ex-RAF personnel, or their families, who are in need.
As ex-RAF personnel the charity is particularly close to all our hearts and we are extremely proud to be able to support them whenever and however we can.
One of the individuals that the RAF Association has helped is former SAC Jon-Allan Butterworth.
After losing his left arm in a rocket attack in Basra Jon-Allan is now set to represent his country at the 2012 Paralympics.