FOTM Raises Over £600 for Navy Wings
Dorchester group Mega FOTM Raises Over £600 for Navy Wings
First of the Month FOTM groups take place all over the world and in July the Dorchester group in Dorset, led by Brian (Swampy) Marsh, held one with a difference. The concept was quite straightforward, let's have a big one, wives and girlfriends all welcome, and make it a bit special. Most importantly, at the same time let's raise some funds for Navy Wings who have done brilliantly to get through Covid unscathed and are keeping our historic Royal Navy aircraft in the sky both as a fitting memory and inspiration to future Royal Naval aviators.
The meeting was held in Bob and Immy Turner's garden by the river Wey just north of Weymouth. Everyone brought their own refreshments and donations were made to Navy Wings. Over 80 FAAOA members and guests attended and when all were gathered, and the dits were being spun among old friends, the Navy Wings Wasp sped into land in the field next door. Out stepped our VIP guests, Sir George and Lady Zambellas. Many old Waspies were able to view the aircraft, courtesy of Stevie Daniels and Andy Vanes. Shortly afterwards an immaculate heritage formation, Al McLaren (Seafire) and Dave Mackay (Harvard) flew through the overhead. Alistair then flew some beautiful manoeuvres in the glorious evening sunshine, not only thrilling our FOTM Group, but also the residents of north Weymouth and Upwey.
Much later, to round off the evening in true FAA fashion, Trophies were awarded, presented by Sir George. The Traveller's Trophy, awarded to the person who had travelled the furthest to attend the event was presented to Chris Rowbottom who had travelled from Cambridge. Others came from Bristol and a great team led by Martin Reid and Mike Shrives, came from Fareham. The keenly contested Ringbolt Trophy, was won by George Granycome for his consistent performances over previous FOTMs, including his over enthusiastic behaviour having us banned from a Dorchester pub! For the Ditching Trophy there were plenty of qualifiers, some more dubious than the rest. This was awarded to Nigel Fraser, who actually ditched having fallen off the hangar roof of a Tribal class Frigate during the Intensive Flying Trials of the Wasp. Truly a leader who paved the way that many more were to follow in the lifetime of the Wasp! He was also awarded points for sheer style, having been recovered by the ship's sea boat to be back in the Wardroom within minutes to down a few glasses of his favourite malt, getting the Wardroom members to pay rather than his own mess bill. The final trophy, the Bottom up Trophy was to acknowledge the person who from a humble beginning had managed to flannel their way through the FAA to achieve excellence in Leadership and Performance. Sir George must have thought he was on to a winner here, having gone from Social Secretary of 814 Squadron to First Sea Lord. However, he was just shaded by Michael Bonham Cozens who having started off as a FAA pilot National Serviceman flew continuously thereafter and with Michael Ryan, had the vision to create, and become the first Commanding Officer of the Fleet Air Arm Squadron, a wonderful organisation.
This was a fun evening in perfect weather, and it is very much hoped will create a model for other FOTM groups to occasionally do something different and raise funds for our vitally important charity Navy Wings. You can all help Navy Wings preserve our heritage by either joining as a Supporter (£3 a month) or making a donation at www.navywings.org.uk/support-us/