Within all Branches of the Royal Air Forces Association there will be individuals who, though often un-noticed, work tirelessly behind the scenes to ensure that the life of the Branch is enhanced by whatever means available to provide a welcoming and friendly environment that helps supply the social/member basis by which we retain the loyalty of existing Branch members and encourage others to join their ranks. Within the North Costa Blanca Branch that individual is, without doubt, Mr Alan Gill. Alan Gill joined the North Costa Blanca Branch is 2006 and from the start fully entered into the spirit of the Branch. Embracing the charitable nature of the organisation and helping in whatever manner possible to enhance the sociability of the 'club' nature of our group. Shortly after joining the Branch, the position of Social/Entertainment member on the committee became vacant. This is a demanding role, often difficult to fill. However, the Branch membership was delighted when Alan volunteered to fill this appointment as he had already gained an excellent reputation by assisting in the organisation of previous successful events. Since taking on the duties of organising the Branch social scene Alan has entered fully into the role and has organised each year a full and varied programme of events ranging from simple Steak Nights to complicated Branch Anniversary Dinners, complete with live music and fund-raising raffles. His forte' is amateur dramatics and he is a leading light in a local theatrical group. In 2014 the Branch hosted the Area Autumn Conference and, as a highlight during this event, he organised his fellow actors and singers to provide the conference with a fantastic evening of entertainment based on First World War music. The 'group' subsequently performed this show to numerous audiences raising significant sums for a range of charitable organisations, the main beneficiary being the RAFA's Wings Appeal. Alan's main strength is he unwavering willingness to organise, participate in or support whatever activity is suggested by the membership. He enters into everything with great enthusiasm and, even more importantly, with a tremendous sense of humour. Throughout every month of his service on the Branch committee, Alan has produced an excellent programme of social activities that not only provided the Branch membership with much welcomed entertainment, but also provided the opportunity to contribute significantly to the Branch Wings Appeal. Alan does not seek personal recognition for all the work he does for the Branch - he is very happy doing what he does, and he does that extremely well. However, it is the spirit embodied by Alan's dedication to the RAF Association and to his Branch that is deserving of recognition. He is a loyal, conscientious, hardworking and highly capable individual whose unstinting support of his Branch is deserving of the award of the Dennis Emes Shield for 2016, an award for which he strongly recommended. R G T Hunt, MBE Chairman, North Costa Blanca Branch 20 October 2016
The photo shows Gaby Ferenczy (Branch President) presenting Kevin with his certificate
Mr Kevin Elders provides an outstanding example of the qualities that should be sought in all members of the Royal Air Forces Association. An ex-Flight Sergeant 'Armourer', Kevin had little previous experience of financial accounting. However, on the formation of the North Costa Blanca Branch in 2004 he was one of the first to volunteer for duties on the Branch Committee. Whilst this in itself was highly commendable, he also willingly offered his services as the Branch Treasurer, notwithstanding his shortage of experience in this field. With his enthusiasm for the Association, his conscientious approach to his duties and his ability to accept and apply professional advice, Kevin has proven to be an exceptional Branch Treasurer. His accounts are always well prepared and, most importantly, accurate. His financial presentations at Committee and Branch meetings are easily understood, and usually with a strong element of humour; a quality not often found in a Branch Treasurer. Moreover, the Branch's Independent Financial Examiner, an ex-RAF Secretarial Wing Commander with many years' financial and auditing experience, has always added considerable praise for Kevin's outstanding work in his audit report. Kevin fully supports the formal and social activities of the Branch where his presence is always an important ingredient in ensuring a successful event. Additionally, Kevin provides full support as a driver and in giving moral support to his wife, our Honorary Welfare Officer, when the latter is engaged on Branch welfare duties. In the past 12 months Kevin has accompanied his wife during many of the two and a half thousand kilometres covered in the process of conducting, on behalf of the Branch, over 100 welfare visits. Furthermore, Kevin has conscientiously represented his Branch as Delegate at European Area Autumn Conferences as far afield as Cyprus and Holland. Kevin Elders is undoubtedly a first-class example of the true spirit we seek in a member of the Royal Air Forces Association. His hard work in an unfamiliar field of responsibility and his dedication towards this organisation and, in particular, the activities within the North Costa Blanca Branch richly deserve the recognition of the award of a European Area Presidential Certificate, for which he is strongly recommended.
The photo shows Gaby Ferenczy (Branch President) presenting Stephen with his certificate
Stephen Lemon is a Life Member of the Association and has been a member of the North Costa Blanca Branch since 2005, the year after the Branch's formation. Since that time he, and his wife before her sad loss at the end of 2010, has played a full and active part in all Branch activities, always willing to give a helping hand whenever the need arose. An example of this was when, in the summer of 2009 and due to the ill health of the previous editor, Stephen willingly volunteered to take on the very difficult task of producing our Branch Newsletter, duties in which he had no previous experience but has since undertaken in a most dedicated and efficient manner in spite of his own poor health and disabilities. Stephen is also a member of the Branch's dedicated team of Welfare Assistants and not only undertakes all the requests made on him by our HWO, he also volunteers to visit Branch members hospitalized in our Spanish National Health Service Hospital in the Town of Denia. Although the Hospital is approximately 2 kilometres from his apartment, Stephen regularly undertakes this journey on his Mobility Scooter, navigating his way along a number of busy major roads in the process, and then the many corridors and lifts in the hospital itself. Following his visits to colleagues in the hospital, Stephen will immediately on his return home provide an emailed report on the patient's progress. His conscientiousness and dedication has provided his Branch with an outstanding example of the ethos of our Association giving friendship, support and help. His enthusiasm for his duties within the Branch committee has also been a shining example to others and his performance both as a rank-and-file member of the Branch and as a member of the committee, particularly during the past 2 years of extreme difficultly, was without doubt well worthy of recognition by the award of an Area Presidential Certificate