Andy Brown, 82, has been raising money for the RAF Benevolent Fund through a 'collecting can' contained in a deactivated bomb at a memorial in Braemar which has so far raised over £4,000 for the Fund. The RAF Benevolent Fund's Bob Kemp tells us more.
Former soldier and Highland cattle breeder Andy Brown had spent five years planning this memorial project in honour of the eight aircrew members from the RAF, RAAF, RNZAF and the RCAF who lost their lives in the Braemar air crash in 1942. Mr Brown was one of the people who took part in the search for the crashed Wellington bomber.
In 1999, Mr Brown obtained permission to recover the two aircraft engines from the crash site high in the hills above Braemar and with support from the 1st Battalion Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders and a Sea King from RAF Lossiemouth, he dug up and transported the engines to his workshop in Aboyne.
Mr Brown's son, Murray, cleaned one of the engines and mounted it on a granite block. The engine was unveiled by HRH The Princess Royal alongside the Braemar war memorial in 2003.
Also, around that time Mr Brown heard that Alastrean House, the RAF Benevolent Fund's care home in Tarland, was having funding problems. Mr Brown approached Air Officer Scotland, Air Cdre Simon Bryant, and asked for a bomb to be used as a 'collecting can' for the Fund.
His powers of persuasion managed to impress RAF Lossiemouth who got involved by making a collection section in place of the warhead.
What followed was a series of planning problems; the request to site the bomb in the centre of Braemar was rejected no less than three times by the local council.
Most would have given up at this stage but not Mr Brown. He appealed to the Scottish Executive who ruled in his favour.
The 'Braemar Bomb' has been a terrific icon in the town centre of Braemar. I take my hat off to Andy Brown who had the vision, drive and commitment to erect this memorial against considerable opposition. It has been a huge success story and is testament to a very supportive general public who have made a donation to the Fund at the memorial site.
Bob Kemp, Regional Director (Scotland and Northern Ireland), RAF Benevolent Fund