IPM Tony Edwards presents a cheque for £80,000 to Air Commodore Dawn McCafferty

Coachlines - July 2019

04.07.19 Past Master Tony Edwards

RAF Air Cadets receive funds as a result of last year’s Banquet

Pictured above: IPM Tony Edwards presents a cheque to RAF Air Cadets Commandant Air Commodore Dawn McCafferty

IPM Tony and Lynda Edwards were warmly welcomed as guests at the Royal Air Force Air Cadets’ National Music Concert, held at RAF Cranwell.

During the event, Tony presented a cheque for £80,000 to the RAF Air Cadets Commandant, Air Commodore Dawn McCafferty, in front of an appreciative audience, including the Air Officer Commanding 22 Group.

IPM Tony’s year coincided with the 100th anniversary of the Royal Air Force, the first independent air force in the world, and the Guildhall Banquet was dedicated to this anniversary.

Tony canvassed support for the Banquet from the RAF, BAE Systems, the RAF Museum, Brooklands Museum, Rolls-Royce, Coldharbour Technology and Mark Grove.

The RAF Museum was especially supportive. As well as providing the Spitfire and Hurricane in the courtyard, on specially designed eye-level stands, the RAF Museum donated £150,000 to the RAF Air Cadets. Its contribution was given in light of Tony’s support of the RAF Museum during the past 20 years, including as trustee and chairman of the RAF Museum’s fundraising committee and the recent negotiation of a £5 million grant from the state of Kuwait.

At the beginning of his year as Master, Tony met artist Jeremy Houghton at one of his exhibitions. On learning about Tony’s activities with the Coachmakers, Jeremy asked if there was anything he could do to support fundraising for the RAF Air Cadets.

Tony suggested “The Last of the Few” from the Battle of Britain and “The Last of the Many” from Bomber Command. He pointed out that Jeremy would have to make haste because the surviving airmen were all well over 90 years old. Jeremy was introduced to four Battle of Britain and seven Bomber Command airmen as appropriate subjects for his drawings.

Jeremy worked with great enthusiasm and seriousness to engage the airmen and capture their spirit and generously, he donated all proceeds from the drawings. These proceeds plus the surplus from the Guildhall Banquet equalled £80,000.

In total, the Guildhall Banquet, spearheaded by the Coachmakers, resulted in £230,000 being donated to the RAF Air Cadets.

“The RAF Air Cadets are indebted to Tony Edwards, to the RAF Museum, to Jeremy Houghton and to the generous donors who bought the two pieces of art for their incredibly generous support,” said Air Commodore Dawn McCafferty.

“We had no idea we would be nominated as the benefactors of the RAF100 events and were delighted when Tony advised us of his personal drive to ensure that the next generation would benefit from the RAF’s centenary. The £150k from the RAF Museum is being held in trust for the moment but will be spent on a legacy project to ensure the current and future generations of the RAF Air Cadets understand the proud history of our parent service.

“The £80k presented at the concert will be placed in the RAF Air Cadet Development Trust, an initiative born in the ATC’s 75th anniversary in 2016, and used to provide bursaries for older cadets and junior volunteers who wish to pursue personal and professional development through university, apprenticeships or other training opportunities. These donations will make a real difference to our work and, on behalf of all members of the RAF Air Cadets. I thank Tony and all those involved for placing the Air Cadets at the heart of their fundraising. “