Volunteering to help my community

Volunteering offers essential help to people in need, worthwhile causes, and the community, but the benefits can be even greater for you, the volunteer. In his own words, here are a few examples of how Tim has volunteered to help make an impact by supporting his local community and making a difference by going that extra mile with topics he is passionate about.

Inspiring the next generation

"I often wonder how I can inspire my two children to appreciate aviation heritage. Maybe I am already encouraging them sub-consciously as they see me paint aviation scenes in my art studio and I recount tales of relatives who served? Also, when we are away on family trips we consciously call into museums such as RAFM Cosford where the interactive ‘hands-on’ science and technology areas always energise their enthusiasm, so I feel that I doing something. But how can we inspire more young people, especially those who have limited opportunities to access aviation?

During the summer of 2015 I helped my local community when the leaders of my son’s Cub Scout pack asked me for help in delivering their Air Activities badge. My initial thoughts were to arrange a visit to our local airfield at RAF Syerston, but that was going to prove a challenge at short notice. So I asked 209 (West Bridgford) Sqn of the Air Training Corps, who instantly offered to help by delivering the badge criteria via a Powerpoint slideshow (which I helped prepare) about the history of flight, demonstrated airmanship skills with the aid of large model aircraft, organised a paper-aeroplane making competition and offered the Cubs the chance to fly an aircraft simulator via their digital training facilities. It was a great success with several Cubs inspired to join the Air-Cadets when they are old enough and one aiming to be a pilot. This was also a chance for the Air-Cadets to practice their training, leadership, coaching and mentoring skills; so both groups benefitted enormously from this activity and I felt good that I had played my part in helping to inspire my local community."

Young artists

"Tempus Fugit! It doesn’t seem like five minutes since September 2015 when I was invited to help my local Cub Scout pack again, this time with their artist badge.

As it coincided with Battle of Britain week I asked my son who is a Cub with the same pack if we could use some of his Airfix kits and die-cast aircraft so we could draw them. Thankfully he wasn’t too precious about this and as result, after an instructional talk in how to draw and a brief history of the Battle, 20 Cubs drew pictures of aircraft one evening.

For another part of the badge I helped the Cubs create a ‘Jungle Book’ display by drawing their favourite characters from Rudyard Kipling’s book on A5 pieces of paper and sticking them to an oversized book made from paper and hardboard sourced by recycling packaging. The Cubs also learned how to use various pieces of art equipment and what is involved during the frame-making process.

Both the aviation drawings and the ‘Jungle Book’ creation were displayed in the Long Acre Studios art gallery in Bingham, Nottinghamshire for a couple of weeks to allow parents and relatives to view the Cubs work."

FOOTNOTE: According to news reports in late 2016 it was suggested that attending the Guides or Scouts might have lifelong benefits by building resilience against common stresses in life, or it may increase a person's chances of achieving more in life by developing skills such as self-reliance and teamwork.

We will remember them

"In 2011 I formed ‘The RAF Newton Memorial Fund’ with a team of volunteers as there was plenty of talk about constructing something to remember the airfield, but nobody seemed prepared to do anything about it. So, just as I realised that no-one was going to write a book, which resulted in me researching the history and publishing Last Post at Newton, I gave myself the same remit and gathered some friends from my Air Training Corps days at Newton who were all keen to help out. In short, with some guidance and inspiration, it is amazing what a team of volunteers can achieve.

Having consulted residents and former Newton personnel our final design that we have chosen is: A bronze statue of a wartime pilot and dog sitting on a stone plinth, accompanied by six interpretation panels to relate Newton’s story.

We have got our architect’s plans, MOD permission to use the wording/badges, projected costs, a sculptor and suppliers all ready and waiting; so we are good to go as soon as the current landowner, house-builders and Rushcliffe Borough Council can all resolve some planning issues. It would be brilliant to see it unveiled in 2018, but until the aforementioned issues reach a solution we can only wait on the sidelines until we are able to proceed with our intended Lottery Grant bid to help us start construction.

Meanwhile, several young people have helped by promoting the project at local village fetes and two young people’s involvement in creating scale models of the statue came to the attention of Sir Roger Moore last autumn. He was so impressed with their handiwork that he kindly donated signed copies of his books for us to raise funds at a future event. Learning through participation, the children have increased their awareness of the sacrifice previous generations made to ensure our freedom; more than if I had just spoken to them about the topic.

In November 2016, I mentored two school-children in how to prepare a PowerPoint presentation that they wanted to deliver during a school assembly as part of their Year 6 studies into the Second World War. During Remembrance week they successfully spoke to all 180 pupils at their primary school."

You can keep up to date with news about the planned memorial on the RAF Newton Memorial Fund's website at: http://rafnewtonmemorialfund.yolasite.com/