On Thursday 6 June we were joined by Dambusters veteran Johnny Johnson and Mary Stopes-Roe, daughter of Barnes Wallis, creator of the Bouncing Bomb, as we commemorated (and celebrated) the 70th anniversary of the Dambuster raid.
We were also delighted to welcome six-time Olympic gold medal winner, and Honorary Group Captain Sir Chris Hoy and Chief of the Air Staff Sir Stephen Dalton.
With over 280 guests, the fundraising dinner was held at 8 Northumberland Avenue – a fitting venue as the building became a War Office under the Ministry of Defence in 1940 and has continued to be part of the MoD until very recently.
While the event was a commemoration, it was also, of course, a celebration and the delicious three course dinner and excellent entertainment ensured that a good time was had by all!
The highlight of the evening was a series of dramatic interludes, re-telling the story of the Dambusters raid. In a new approach to the story, two actors played the part of father and son, with the son asking his father questions about the raid.
This provided the opportunity to depart from the traditional storyline to include vignettes, such as the fact that Barnes Wallis had used the money he was awarded after the war to join forces with the RAF Benevolent Fund and set up a fund to educate the children who’d lost a parent serving in the RAF.
The dramatisation was performed against a backdrop of archive footage and clips from the 1953 film with music provided by The Salon Orchestra of the Central Band of the Royal Air Force.
Among the lots which were up for auction were a framed skin suit signed by Sir Chris Hoy MBE, the opportunity to become Head Brewer for the Day at Shepherd Neame, Britain’s oldest brewer and a day with the Red Arrows. According to our calculations so far, the event has raised almost £40,000 for our welfare work.
Our heartfelt thanks go out to everyone who supported the event, including hosts, guests, donors, performers, caterers and waiting staff.
For photos of the event please visit our Facebook page.