THE Duchess of Northumberland praised RAF Boulmer for the crucial role it plays in the country’s national security and the local community after presenting awards to service and civilian personnel.
She told recipients and their families gathered for Monday’s ceremony at the base.
“Northumberland is rightly proud of the close links it shares with RAF Boulmer which is held in high regard in the local community.
“Boulmer, and its personnel, is integral to the county and the importance of this partnership was justly marked with you being awarded the Freedom of the County in 2010,” said the Duchess.
“Your involvement in the Battle of Britain and Remembrance Services in Alnwick is much appreciated as was your assistance in last year’s visit by Her Majesty to celebrate the work of carers and volunteers within the county.
“And to the recipients of today’s awards. You should be rightly proud of your contribution and achievements. The sacrifices made by our armed forces, both individually and equally by families and loved ones, are considerable. Today’s recipients represent the very best of a hugely impressive force.”
Among the honours handed out by the Duchess, who attended in her capacity as Lord Lieutenant of Northumberland, were 11 Operational Service Medals for service in Afghanistan.
She also awarded two highly-regarded Meritorious Service Medals, given to officers who have served at least 20 years and also hold both Long Service and Good Conduct Medals.
One recipient, Warrant Officer Mick Keane, 50, who is the immediate past-president of Alnwick Lions, was delighted with the honour.
“You do the job to the best of your ability and it is fantastic to be rewarded for doing it,” said Mick, who lives in Alnwick with his wife Gillian and three children. “It really is an honour. There is fierce competition for these medals and it is very unusual for a base to receive two. I just feel extremely proud to serve.”
FS Eddie Budd, 47, from Alnwick, received the Air Officer Commanding Number 1 Group Commendation on behalf of the Basic Trade Training Cell.
He said: “It has been a really good effort from the team and I am glad all the hard work has come to fruition.”
Group Captain Jeff Portlock paid tribute to those honoured and their families and said he was delighted the Duchess was able to accept his invitation to present the awards.