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CO 824 NAS, Cdr Steve Thomas and POACMN Shona Smith presenting the cheque to Heidi Mallinder

Culdrose's contribution to charity

Published: 16 Sep 2014

Aviators from Royal Naval Air Station Culdrose have been helping a newly formed charity in Cornwall to find its feet.  The Sailors of 824 Naval Air Squadron have been working with ‘Heidi’s Quest’ which helps local sick children, to raise its profile and also to raise funds. 

Alongside their day job of flying the Royal Navy’s state-of-the art helicopters, personnel from Culdrose regularly help out in their local community giving support to charities, environmental projects and schools.  The majority of the units based at the Cornish Air Station work with specific charities that they raise funds for whilst at home in Helston or operating overseas. 

824 Naval Air Squadron is the training unit which hosts the Royal Navy’s ‘University of Merlin’, training aircrew and engineers in every aspect of the Merlin helicopter.  As well as raising funds for the Royal Navy/Royal Marine Association, the Squadron has recently adopted a local charity called ‘Heidi’s Quest’ which aims to make a difference to the lives of sick children who live in Cornwall.  

Petty Officer Aircrewman Shona Smith, who is the Charity Officer on 824 Squadron explains: “Heidi’s Quest is a new charity that has just been registered.  We thought that it needed a helping hand in getting off the ground and wanted to give it a bit of support.  It is committed to raising funds to grant the desires of Cornish children with debilitating or life threatening medical conditions in the hope of bringing pleasure, relaxation and a rare moment of peace in times of stress, anguish and loss.  The charity has only really had exposure in St Austell and Bodmin, but it has already helped 12 children within the first 6 months of operation.  The ambition is to get wider exposure throughoutCornwall, this in turn will allow them to help more children throughout the county.” 

Since they starting to work with the founder of the charity Heidi Mallinder in July, 824 Squadron has already helped to raise almost £700.  The Squadron presented a cheque to Heidi this week. 

The next fundraising event for Heidi’s trust will be run during the first week of November when a small team of personnel will climb the equivalent of Kilimanjaro at Granite Planet in Falmouth.  A ‘Bake Off’ type challenge is also planned and is a musical event in January. 

Shona adds: “It is really rewarding to help the local community and quite different to my day job which is currently writing courses for student aircrew on nuclear physics!  We have had great support from the personnel and families based at Culdrose and also businesses within the local community.  I would like to thank the local companies for helping us raise the money with kind donations towards the raffles that we held at events during the July.  Whirlwind sports, Joy Williams, Lime green submarine, Costa’s, Table Table, Shimmys, Goon Hilly, Granite Planet, EBO adventures and the Eden project.”


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