Back to School

In late January, five Primary Schools each received a change to their normal school assemblies, the group from RAF Wyton delivering an informative and interactive talk on the elite RAF Path Finder Force (PFF) which operated during WWII.

The presentations, skilfully delivered by Wyton Heritage Centre speakers, focussed on the PFF’s ability to use their experiences as pilots, and to incorporate innovative technology to overcome navigational challenges, that added very real value to the coalition campaign. After the talks, and some interesting question and answer sessions with the children, the Primary Schools at Elsworth, Hatton Park at Longstanton, Dry Drayton, St Helen’s at Bluntisham, and Warboys each received a donation of £150 from the Pathfinder March Organising Committee.
A sixth community presentation was delivered at King’s Ripton Village Hall on the evening of Monday, 25th January. Once again, a small detachment from Wyton, along with the addition of the ever friendly FS Mary Nash, (a long time Pathfinder March volunteer and stalwart) turned up, spilling out of the minibus in a flurry, effortlessly whipping up the associated presentation equipment in the cosy setting provided. The High Sheriff of Cambridgeshire attended what was a very informative presentation, a sixth donation of £150 presented, along with A PFF montage print made in recognition of the village’s support of the Pathfinder Marcher, having hosted a checkpoint over the years. However, it wasn’t until after the presentation of the PFF picture, that the existence of a duplicate print, presented in 2008, was noticed hanging proudly on the wall. Despite the ever so slightly awkward silence when presenting the print, our hosts appreciated the gesture all the same, as if it were a campaign medal symbolising the enduring assistance provided by Kings Ripton!

King’s Ripton were not the sole recipients of a PFF Print. In total, there were seven handed out to other locations, specifically where CPs were held or assistance given during the event. Recipients included; Mr Martin Eayrs at Cotton farm (CP1), Dry Drayton Primary School and the adjacent Black Bull Public House (Mrs Denise Glover, Landlady) (CP3), Longstanton Pavilion (Mrs Suzanne Marsh) (CP4), St Helen’s Primary School, Bluntisham (CP5), and The Royal Oak in Warboys. Indeed, only the landlords of the always welcoming Poacher Inn at Elsworth (CP2) were unable to collect a presentation. However, with a new Landlord due in shortly, this will be rectified.
With a total of nine locations visited, £900 donated, seven PFF prints presented, five school assemblies and one detailed presentation articulated, the three day series of engagements did seem akin to delivering the twelve days of Christmas. However, I firmly believe we achieved our mission, and there will undoubtedly be a greater awareness come 18th June 2016 – awareness that the long line of people wearing matching t-shirts, several dozen miles into a walk, and most likely in a lot of pain, are giving something back to the community, in commemoration of an elite force whose life centred around operating from airfields that were woven into the fabric of the countryside in which we live.
by Sgt Mike Pepper, SNCO FP Flt