Without the support of its large army of volunteers, one of the world’s most prestigious airshows would be unable to take place according to Andy Armstrong, Chief Executive of RAF Charitable Trust Enterprises, at the start of National Volunteers Week – 1 to 12 June.
More than 2,000 volunteers from around the world arrive at RAF Fairford in the Cotswolds each year to stage the airshow, which raises money for the RAF Charitable Trust.
Mr Armstrong said: “Our volunteers contribute to the success of the Air Tattoo in so many different ways. There are those who offer us specific skills that they use in everyday life – such as our team of air traffickers and our team of padres. Other volunteers, such as teachers, web designers and kitchen-fitters, perform roles with us that are in complete contrast to their day job.
“Together, all our volunteers play a significant role in creating the unique Air Tattoo atmosphere that the public have enjoyed since the event was first staged in 1971. Without their skills, experience and generosity it would simply be impossible to stage an event such as ours. We calculate that the number of volunteer hours ‘donated’ alone equates to more than £1.2 million.
“National Volunteer Week provides me and my small team of full-time staff the opportunity to say a big ‘Thank you’ to our volunteers. You are the lifeblood of the Air Tattoo and each one is quite literally, one in a million.”
The RAF’s legendary aerobatics display team the Red Arrows also paid tribute to the Air Tattoo’s volunteer team. A spokesman said: “Being the largest military airshow in the world, the contribution of volunteers at the Royal International Air Tattoo (RIAT) is huge. The enthusiasm of these individuals, together with their energy, knowledge and diligence, is obvious to see and makes a tangible difference.
“As a team that has a full and high-profile role at RIAT, it is important every aspect and detail of the Red Arrows’ activity is carried out efficiently. The volunteers at the show – whether helping at aircrew reception, manning control posts or ensuring traffic is flowing smoothly – make the lives of participating teams much easier. In short, the spirit and professionalism of the volunteers is crucial to the success of RIAT.”