Andy Armstrong and Air Commodore Dawn McCafferty

Andy Armstrong and Air Commodore Dawn McCafferty

There were celebrations all round as the RAF Charitable Trust (RAFCT) and RAF Air Cadets were presented with an award for innovation at the 2017 European Airshow Council (EAC) convention.

In recognition of their joint efforts, which are helping to inspire and encourage the next generation of aviation minded individuals, the Fairford based charity and Air Cadets were awarded with the inaugural Ann Vanderhaeghen Award for Innovation.

Andy Armstrong, Chief Executive at RAF Charitable Trust Enterprises, accepted the award on behalf of the Trust. He said: “I was delighted to accept the award alongside Commandant of the Air Cadet Organisation (ACO), Air Commodore Dawn McCafferty. Ever since the Trust was established in 2005 it has forged strong relations with the ACO, supporting a wide range of aviation-related initiatives. Through the Enterprises company, the RAFCT organises the annual Royal International Air Tattoo which provides Air Cadets with their biggest and most eagerly anticipated summer camp each year.

“Over the years, more than £1 million has been spent supporting the Air Cadets on expeditions, through the provision of equipment and flying opportunities as well as providing sponsorships designed to inspire in them a passion for aviation.

 “In 2016, the Trust provided a grant of £50,000 to fund special celebrations marking the 75th anniversary of the ACO at RAF Cranwell.

“For this work to be recognised with an award is a tremendous achievement and, as the charity looks ahead to exciting new opportunities presented by both the new Scampton Airshow and next year’s RAF centenary celebrations, the Trust can look forward to continuing to develop its relationship with the ACO, providing even more opportunities to youngsters.”

Each year EAC organisers give out three major awards. The Ann Vanderhaeghen Award was introduced in 2017 to celebrate innovation and recognise the working partnership between organisations. EAC Chairman Gilbert Buekenberghs said: “Ann’s enthusiasm, positive approach and support made her well-respected in the Airshow community.”

The RAF Charitable Trust funds a wide range of projects and initiatives that Promote the Royal Air Force, Support its people and Encourage young people to take an interest in aviation. The Royal International Air Tattoo (14-16 July) is staged annually at RAF Fairford in aid of the Trust and, new for 2017, the Scampton Airshow (9-10 September) has been set up to raise funds for the Trust. To find out more about the RAFCT visit