Personnel from 820 NAS commended for supporting education in Sierra Leone
From Royal Navy
Three naval air crewmen have been presented with the Brigadier’s Commendation for their hard work in raising money for an education charity in Sierra Leone.
The men are all with 820 Naval Air Squadron (NAS), embarked in Royal Fleet Auxiliary ship Argus, currently deployed to assist the fight against Ebola in West Africa.
In just over three months of their deployment they have raised more than £9,000 from colleagues onboard and families back home through a Facebook page.
They have then given the money to EducAid – a UK based charity which promotes the education of young people affected by war and Ebola in Sierra Leone.
To know that the ship’s company have had a direct impact on building a better future for so many children in Sierra Leone has been the most rewarding time of my career.Petty Officer Diccon Griffith
Leading Airman (Survival Equipment) Dave Jackson, Petty Officer (Air crewman) Diccon Griffith and Petty Officer (Aircraft Engineering Mechanic) Stephen Thornhill have all be recognised for their hard work.
The Brigadier’s Commendations were presented by the Captain of RFA Argus, Captain David Buck, on board the ship off the coast of West Africa.
Receiving his commendation, PO Griffith said, “I’d like to say a huge thank you to everyone involved with the EducAid charity link. To know that the ship’s company have had a direct impact on building a better future for so many children in Sierra Leone has been the most rewarding time of my career.”
While PO Thornhill added: “I was honoured to receive the Commendation on behalf of the aircraft engineering team; the work being carried out continues to be second to none.”
LA Jackson raised more than £800 along by cutting hair on board in return for a donation.
He was also instrumental in setting up a flight deck reindeer race on Christmas Eve that raised another £900.
He said: “To receive an award for something that I have thoroughly enjoyed doing is a massive bonus. A huge thank you to everyone that helped with our charity efforts onboard RFA Argus and back home, the response was phenomenal.
“A particular highlight of the operation so far for me was assisting the World Food Programme deliver aid to the people on the Sherbro Islands; a great experience and I now have memories that will stay with me forever.”
Day to day the fundraising members of 820 NAS are involved in engineering activities to ensure the ship’s three Merlin helicopters are available for service, flying supplies and personnel to more remote parts of Sierra Leone.
So far the Merlin helicopters, flown by Royal Navy pilots, have clocked up more than 550 flying hours flown since leaving Falmouth last October.
Commander Ross Spooner, Commanding Officer 820 NAS, said: “These awards justifiably recognise a huge amount of individual and corporate enthusiasm, dedication and sheer professionalism whilst deployed in support of Operation Gritrock.
“I’m particularly pleased that the engineering team’s sustained efforts over the last three months, working eight hours on, eight hours off every day in arduous conditions has been formally acknowledged. This has been a superb performance from a highly skilled, well-motivated and particularly proficient group.”