Today we welcomed the Deputy Lord Lieutenant for Suffolk; Colonel Anthony Fairbanks Weston to our Station Honours and Awards ceremony to award special recognition to station personnel for their contributions within the community throughout the ongoing pandemic.
H.M Lord Lieutenant of Suffolk, Lady Clare Euston said:
Every year the Lord Lieutenant presents awards for exceptional service to our County’s Reserves and Cadets. Working with the High Sheriff of Suffolk, Mrs Bridget McIntyre, it was decided in this very difficult year to extend Awards to include those who have made a special contribution during the Pandemic. They are a shining example of all that is best in this county.
Flight Sergeant Steven Thorp, the Station Chaplaincy Team and Station Co-Responders are all awarded ‘The Lord Lieutenant’s Special Certificate of Merit’ for their selfless dedication and support to both the Service and local community.
On presenting the awards today Colonel Fairbanks Weston said:
RAF Honington, the civilian staff, the military personnel and all your families are such an important and integral part of our County and these awards demonstrate and strengthen the very special relationship that exists between the military and the wider Suffolk Community. On behalf of the Lord Lieutenant ‘congratulations’ to each of the recipients and above all ‘Thank you’ for all that you have done and are continuing to do.
In the case of our Chaplain’s, their weekly video messages of support and wellbeing have reached worldwide with followers as far as Jackson, Tennessee and Dubai via the RAF Honington Facebook page. Started in Holy Week and throughout Easter, the messages have often been examples of hope and despair and not always focused on Biblical examples with each providing ‘food for thought’ on the circumstances that we all share due to Covid 19.
Reverend (Squadron Leader) Craig Lancaster said:
It is wonderful to be able to accept the award on behalf of Padre Adrian Dyer under whose leadership the team established support to RAF Honington over the initial months of lockdown. It is a continuing privilege to pastorally support personnel through the highs and lows of life and we are particularly delighted to have been helped to do so virtually this year by our PTI and Media teams.
Flight Sergeant Steven Thorp is a Base Support Group Reservist working part time in Training Wing where his focus is to provide welfare support to Trainee Gunners on their Ph II Courses. As a former RAF Regiment SNCO he acts as the ‘Trainee Gunners Uncle’ day-to-day and quickly stepped forward after Lockdown commenced and took a firm grasp on the need to support not just the Trainees in increasing isolation but the wider RAF Honington Service Community. As the focal point for coordination and activities of the RAF Honington Covid-19 Support Cell he led the provision of a wide range of activities including vital welfare calls to those self-isolating in Single Living Accommodation and delivery of 3 meals a day to each of them. Community events including the production and delivery of VE-Day 75 Activity packs to Families all benefitted from Flight Sergeant Thorp’s energy and it is not surprising that he willingly volunteered to add additional commitment to his part time role and agreed to a doubling of his duty days.
On receipt of his award Flight Sergeant Thorp said:
I thoroughly enjoyed working with the Covid Support Team supporting RAF Honington at the start of the pandemic and I'm delighted to have received this award
Six members of the Station Co-Responder team, including Physical Training Instructors and Military Transport Drivers, some of whom are qualified to be blue-light Rapid Response Vehicle drivers, were upskilled to drive Double Staffed Ambulances and work directly in support of the NHS. After just 2 days on task, they were called to a Cat-1 (life-threatening) emergency call along with several Cat-2 & Cat-3 calls, including an urgent patient transfer. In total the team spent over 4000 hours on-call in 3 months and responded to 350 Emergency Calls to assist the NHS throughout the pandemic.
RAF Honington Co-Response Team Leader Warrant Officer Karl Phillips said:
On behalf of not only those of us who deployed in direct support of Op RESCRIPT, but also the wider RAF Honington Co-response team, who continue to give of their free time to support the NHS as front-line ambulance crews; thank you - we feel extremely honoured to have received this recognition. Being able to represent Honington and the wider RAF while supporting the NHS and delivering emergency care across our region means we are in a truly privileged position and, given the enormity of the combined national effort in respect of COVID-19, this award is particularly humbling.