Team RAFBF Lossiemouth were lucky enough to host a VIB recently (Very Important Bear) who is working hard to raise funds and awareness for the RAF Benevolent Fund. It is only right that a bear of such importance should have his own blog post!
Hello everyone! Bader Bear here, from HQ Bear Command …
Some of you may know me and be aware of my mission. I’m travelling the world with the British Forces to raise awareness and funds for Service Charities, primarily the RAF Benevolent Fund. As an Air Bear my heart is with the Bear Force, but I’m also all for the spirit of jointery!
Earlier this year my adventures took me to RAF Lossiemouth. To say I was well looked after would be an understatement, I was given the red carpet treatment (as is only right for a VIB!) and welcomed by the Station Commander. I spent a lot of time with various personnel at the base, my first port of call was the Medical Centre and the Dental Centre to make sure that I was fit to fly. The lovely medics and dental staff gave me a good going over, lots of tests, prodding and poking to make sure that I was in rude health. Needless to say I passed with flying colours and was passed A1 (although the Physio insisted on practicing acupuncture on me!).
I then got to spend a couple of days with the Community Mental Health team at Kinloss, I’m all to aware of how important MH is, FS Mitchell told me all about the challenges faced in the modern services and how the MH teams are there to help anyone who may find themselves suffering. We talked about the ‘stigma’ that put some folk off dealing with Mental Health. This little bear couldn’t quite get my head around that … if you’d injured your knee you’d see a physio and get it fixed, so surely an injury in the mind should be treated the same: see the MH team and get it fixed! Simples!
I also spent some time with the Lossiemouth RAFBF team … a smashing bunch of volunteers doing all sorts to raise money for the Benevolent Fund. I went along to their charity cycle event in Elgin, though I didn’t clock up many miles myself as I couldn’t reach the pedals! They also gave me a tour of some of the facilities that the RAFBF had paid for at RAF to help the families. I was most impressed with the Multi Use Games Area and had some fun with the climbing frame and then ‘shot some hoops’ (bears love basket ball!).
I was on hand to meet Penny Mordaunt MP when she visited the Station. Needless to say she was quite struck by such a suave, debonair, adventurous bear as myself, and she was very excited to be able to have her photo taken with me! After tea and cakes with her and the Station Commander it was time for my flight with ‘D’ Flt, 202 Sqn. I was looked after by the Winchman Paramedic, and between jobs I helped out with First Aid training … as he’d never cannulated a teddy bear before. He did go a bit over-the-top with the bandages, but I think that was to get me back for playing with the ‘Scramble’ bell! Still, I managed to get up in their big yellow helicopter and had great fun!
Next stop on my mission was the Tornado simulator, it was though that I’d best familiarise myself with the Tornado before flying one! I managed to not crash it so I was cleared for the highlight of my visit … a mission with 617 Squadron … the Dambusters. Lucky lucky bear that I am, I got to fly with them on the very day of their 70th birthday. What a prestigious date to have in my log book! It was a fantastic mission, with some low level flying, I managed to hold on to my lunch – just! A briliant day, I loved every minute of it. After the flight I looked around their crewroom and soaked up some of the history of the Squadron, it was very poignant to remember the reason why the Squadron was formed and the daring raid that they took part in. I’ll admit that a tear came to my eye when I thought of the brave fellows who didn’t make it back.
Before I left Lossie, the RAFBF Team were extremely kind and took me on a trip to London with them. They were to be awarded for the fantastic efforts they’ve been making at the Annual RAFBF Awards Ceremony. Oh what a night we had! I felt like a ‘celeb’ as all the dignitaries attending were queuing up to have their pictures taken with the bear!! A hearty congratulations to the Lossiemouth RAFBF Team for their well deserved award … and thank you for taking me along for the ride. We had some time to kill the next day (and I was in need of some fresh air as I was literally like a bear with a sore head after a couple of bottles of Spitfire Ale at the awards!) so we headed out to pay our respects to the Bomber Command Memorial. What a wonderfully fitting tribute to all those brave men. After a little while reflecting on the debt we owe to them, we went across the road for a cup of tea in the RAF Club before heading back to Scotland.
That was the end of my trip ‘North of the border’ … for now anyway. Like the Littlest Hobo from 80s telly “there’s a voice that keeps on calling me …” and it was time to pack up my kit bag and move on to my next adventure – Lincolnshire and the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight. I’ve had a fantastic time at Lossiemouth, and am looking forward to returning before too long. HQ Bear Command tell me I’ll be back up for the Families Day before deploying to Afghanistan with 12(B) Sqn.
If you’d like to keep up with my capers you can do at www.baderbear.moonfruit.com and follow me on Twitter: @BaderBear
See you again soon! Bear Ardua Ad Astra,