London Volunteers’ Day Trip to Cosford

Every year, the RAF Museum organises two reciprocal visits for our volunteers from both our sites, London and Cosford. Each visit gives volunteers the valuable opportunity to meet with each other, share their experiences, have a look round the other site’s collections and generally have a good chin wag with one another.

We have more than 400 volunteers working on both sites and such meetings are exciting events that they look forward to. This year, on 13 November, London’s volunteers travelled up to Cosford for their day-trip. For some of them it was their first visit!

The reciprocal visit for our volunteers at our Cosford site

Because the journey from London to Cosford is over 3 hours, it was an early start to the day – meeting for the coach at our London site at 7.30am. On arrival at Cosford London’s volunteers visited the Sir Michael Beetham Conservation Centre (MBCC) to see for themselves the key restoration work that takes place there.

Michael Beetham Conservation Centre (MBCC) at the RAF Museum Midlands

Volunteers from across both sites met and discussed the exciting work being undertaken on aircraft such as the Vickers Wellington, Dornier and the Lysander, as well as the huge amount of progress that has already been made on these and other restoration projects in the MBCC. First timers to Cosford were amazed at the incredible size and shape of the National Cold War Exhibition Hangar that holds some of the largest and most advanced aircraft ever used by the RAF.

Les Cherrington, the oldest volunteer in the RAF Museum

This visit was also the opportunity to bring everyone together and celebrate Cosford volunteer Les Cherrington’s 100th birthday with a toast, gifts and cake. Les gave a truly heart-warming speech, thanking the staff, volunteers and the RAF Museum for supporting him and his story.

Les began his military career in June 1938 at a Yeomanry camp at Patshull Park, Wolverhampton. He served in the Second World War in the North African campaign where he was nicknamed the ‘luckiest man in the desert’ because he was the only survivor after his tank had suffered a direct hit from an 88mm enemy gun, the shell pierced the tank and exploded. You can find out more about his story here.

Les Cherrington’s 100th birthday at our Cosford site

Judith Karena, Cosford’s Volunteering Manager, shared the feedback that she received about the day:

‘Thanks to all for attending and to all staff who supported what was a very busy but happy day! It was wonderful for existing and new volunteers from London to enjoy the Open Week at MBCC and to meet staff and volunteers at Cosford site over lunch.’

The reciprocal visit for our volunteers at our Cosford site

Other comments received included:
‘It was very well organised and interesting. When there I got to meet up with some London colleagues I hadn’t seen for a while, and a 100th birthday party thrown in! What’s not to like?’

The reciprocal visit for our volunteers at our Cosford site

The Museum is proud to organise such events for our volunteers and to give them the precious opportunity to explore all of our amazing collection, to meet with other volunteers and to feel as part of an exciting team that they are.

If you’d be interested in volunteering at the RAF Museum then check out our available opportunities here.

About the Author

Kieron Mantle: Digital Marketing Apprentice for the Volunteering Department

My main responsibility is to share the stories of our volunteers, their activities and volunteering within the Museum. I feel that it is very important to highlight the invaluable work of our volunteers and to celebrate how much we have achieved together.