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First-ever Airfest takes flight at RAF Cosford

"A great event" and "I hope it's on next year" were just some of the glowing reviews from more than 100 young people who descended on RAF Cosford earlier this month for the very first Airfest.

The festival, aimed at 11-18-year-old members of Airplay, was held over two days and one night with youngsters camping out at the RAF station and enjoying a host of music and festival activities. Children from as far afield as Lossiemouth came along to enjoy live acts and hands-on workshops like festival flag-making and wristband making.

Children at Airfest

Airplay is the RAF Benevolent Fund's flagship youth support programme, offering youth club sessions on RAF stations for children aged five to 18. Airfest was organised in partnership with RAF Cosford's Community Development Officer Jean Hartshorne and Action for Children's Airplay Service Co-Ordinator Tom Cavalot.

Jean said: "The feedback I've had has been wonderful. One group even said Airfest was the best thing they'd ever done with Airplay. It was wonderful to see so many young people gathering together, sharing experiences and making new friends.

"We set out to provide a fun weekend for young people who live with the day-to-day pressures of being part of the RAF Family and judging by all the smiling faces, I think we achieved that!"

The event was funded by the RAF Benevolent Fund and the Armed Forces Community Covenant.

Paul Hughesdon, Director of Welfare and Policy at the RAF Benevolent Fund, said: "Airplay is one of the most important welfare services the RAF Benevolent Fund provides for serving RAF families. The youth support scheme provides a safe place where children can meet, play, chat and have fun, where the unique challenges they face are understood. Airfest is a wonderful event, a sure-fire success, and we hope to see it return soon!"

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