Forest Forces report to Duxford
On a fresh chilly, sunny day in late November, three coach loads of Nottinghamshire veterans made their way south on yet another excursion.
The veterans, or, as we know them, Forest Forces, were day tripping to Imperial War Museum (IMW) Duxford, one of the country’s top spots to see iconic and historic aircraft.
Duxford, as it’s collectively known is situated in Cambridgeshire on an active airstrip and was once a Royal Air Force (RAF) base. The venue attracts thousands of visitors per year, many of whom are current or ex-service men and women, keen to explore the past through aviation, conflict, and war.
IWM Duxford played a central role in some of the most dramatic days in 20th century history – serving as a base for many of the Spitfire and Hurricane pilots during the Second World War.
Inside every hangar and exhibition – and outside them too – there are hundreds of large aircraft, vehicles, boats and more. The 80 strong crowd had the opportunity to walk around them, inside them, above and below them and had the chance to see two Spitfires take off from the historic runway.
The Forest Forces programme ran by Nottingham Forest Community Trust, supports local Veterans to lead a more healthy and connected life. The Trust aims to tackle social isolation by providing a variety of regular activities and events such as this, bringing veterans together from different backgrounds and armed forces constituents. From coffee mornings, comedy nights and day trips, we work with our veterans to come up with different initiatives that everyone will enjoy.
Working in partnership with Nottinghamshire County Council (NCC), the Trust worked with NCC to organise the free event which was close to capacity which allows more participants to hear about and engage with the Forest Forces programme.
Reflecting on the day, one participant said, “Thank you for organising the Duxford trip. I want to recognise the generosity of the Nottingham Forest Community trust and others who made it all possible.”
Regular participant Ken added, “Thank you to Nottingham Forest Community Trust for a brilliant day out at the Imperial War Museum. My friend and I managed to visit most of the exhibits and chat to fellow veterans. Talking to a lot of the veterans, I gathered they all were having a great time. We are looking forward to future events put on by Nottingham Forest Community Trust.”
For one participant, it was their first time to a Forest Forces trip, “I would like to thank you for organising a great trip to Duxford last weekend. The Sherwood Rangers contingent had a lovely time. Not only was the museum excellent we also saw old comrades in arms from the past and it was good to be on a trip with like-minded people.”
Gillian Welch, Senior Community Engagement Officer at Ashfield District Council said, “We had a really fruitful day with like-minded veterans and all. It was great to catch up and meet new folk, support less able people and signpost others who are also struggling. Hopefully, these will be on their way to solutions now that we have been able to have those real conversations.”
Nottingham Forest Community Trust Equality, Diversity & Inclusion Manager, Claire said, “We are so thrilled to be able to organise events such as this that give Nottinghamshire veterans the chance to get out the house and out to an iconic venue like this. Duxford is incredible and it’s clear to see, from talking to the attendees that they’ve had a great time. As a Trust, one of the core objectives of the Forest Forces programme is to tackle loneliness and encourage veterans to engage with activities and events such as this.”
Claire continued, “The Trust would like to take this opportunity to also thank Nottinghamshire County Council for their support and input into running such a great day out.”
If you wish to find out more about the Forest Forces programme, contact Claire, or call 0115 9824444.