Easter Sunday marked the 100th birthday of the RAF which was formed on 1st April 1918 and over the course of the next few months, some amazing events will be happening around the country to mark the occasion.
One of the celebrations saw the launch of an ambitious 100-day Baton Relay that will involve currently serving personnel, cadets, veterans and supporters navigate their way around the United Kingdom visiting 100 sites linked to the Royal Air Force.
The Royal Air Force Orienteers one of British Orienteering’s member associations, RAF Orienteering is supporting the planning and execution of this navigational challenge.
Shown live on BBC One on Sunday 1 April 13:30 the RAF100 Baton set off from the Royal Courts of Justice and will visit key sites in all the UK Regions along with the Falkland Islands, Afghanistan, Iraq, United Arab Emirates, Romania and the USA before returning to London on the 10th July when the RAF100 Parade and special flypast involving 100 aircraft from the RAF will take place.
The RAF100 celebrations and the Baton Relay was formally launched on 1 April in London. Following the Founder’s Day Service in St Clement Dane’s church, the Chief of the Air Staff handed over the RAF Baton to 94-year old veteran Charles Clarke who then passed it to Aircraftsman Wood, the RAF’s youngest member. The event involved many Air Cadets, the RAF’s next generation. AC Wood ran on the first Leg of Day 1 of the relay, accompanied by a small group of RAF athletes, most of whom are currently serving RAF orienteers.
Group Captain Rob Woods, the Chairman of RAF Orienteering, said: “It’s great that the orienteering community was able to get a look at the RAF100 Baton shortly before it set off on its 100-day tour of the UK and overseas. The Baton Relay will take the RAF – and orienteering – into communities in every corner of the UK, from Land’s End to John o’ Groats and beyond. It’s a chance for us to celebrate the RAF’s century of service, commemorate our veterans and hope to inspire the next generation to get involved with the RAF and orienteering.”
Air Chief Marshal Sir Stephen Hillier, Chief of the Air Staff, RAF, said: “Our 100th-anniversary celebrations give us a unique platform from which to showcase the character of the RAF and the opportunities we offer. We want people across the UK to be inspired to find out more about why working in the RAF is so extraordinary and to realise that the world-class training and opportunities that we offer make it an outstanding place to learn, develop and progress. We want young people to be ambitious and realise their potential so that we can continue to be a dynamic force for good across the nation and can continue to protect the nation, as we have done so successfully throughout our first one hundred years.”
Peter Hart Chief Executive at British Orienteering, said: “We were delighted to be part of the RAF100 Celebrations and were delighted to welcome the specially designed RAF Baton to the first day of our JK International Orienteering Festival at MOD Stafford. It was a great opportunity for orienteers to take their own selfie photos, demonstrate their close links with RAF Orienteering and support the RAF100 Celebrations with the specially designed RAF100 Baton before it set off on its long journey around the UK and abroad.”
There are three significant milestones in the same 12 month period for orienteering in the Royal Air Force:
The RAF100 Day 1 celebrations were shown on BBC News channels with the Baton Relay’s being officially launched at 1330 on Sunday afternoon.
Read Sky News report on the #RAFBatonRelay here.
British Orienteering and RAF100 Celebrations – the RAF Baton comes to JK.
Read more here.