New members urged to fall in and join the RAFA ranks

Alnwick RAFA chairman Dave Chappell with treasurer George Dourish, member Adrian Ions and membership secretary Paddy O'Hanlon.
Alnwick RAFA chairman Dave Chappell with treasurer George Dourish, member Adrian Ions and membership secretary Paddy O'Hanlon.

In the week that the nation remembers the fallen from the world wars and other conflicts, an ex-servicemen’s club is appealing for new members.

The RAF Association’s Alnwick branch wants to attract more ex-service personnel to its ranks.

The branch was once so successful in recruiting new members that it outgrew its original permanent home in the Mechanics Institute, Alnwick, and bought new headquarters in Lisburn Street.

It is still there and opens to members and their guests weekdays and Saturdays from 8pm to 11pm.

It runs quiz nights and other functions and occasionally provides entertainment.

Member Adrian Ions said: “We realise that there will be a lot of people who will be ex-service and it’s a facility for them to meet like-minded people.”

The RAF Association is a charity which supports retired and serving RAF personnel.

The origins of the Alnwick branch go back to a newspaper advertisement in 1947, which aroused the interest of Harry Mills, who was then serving at RAF Acklington.

Harry was instrumental in establishing the branch, which was formed in December 1949.

It met at a number of venues until another founder member, Pat Marr, secured more permanent premises in the Mechanics Institute in 1959.

Warrant Officer McGowen, the RAFA liaison officer at RAF Boulmer, started a recruitment campaign that produced 100 new members.

Its success in attracting new members eventually led to the move to Lisburn Street.

Anyone interested in joining can ring Adrian on 01665 606033 or go along to the club one evening.