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End of year message from our President

Dear all,

As we enter into the unknown of 2021, its time for a little bit of reflection on this year, which for everyone has been an ‘Annis Horribilus’.

I think we are only now really starting to feel the effects of the Covid pandemic and the measures the Government have taken to reduce the impact on the NHS and keep us safe. Personally, I dont know many people who have actually had Covid, but thats not to say it does not exist.  While the majority of us are relatively fit and well, many are vulnerable and it is our duty to protect them as much as possible.  Inevitably, we have lost some friends and relatives this year due to illness, accident or old age, and I’m sure you will join me at the turn of the year in raising a glass in remembrance and in honour of absent friends.

The events of this year have inevitably meant a few sacrifices on our part and I’m sure you all missed our ‘routine’ visits to Cleethorpes, Arnhem and the Wall as much as I did.  We missed other events too. I was gutted to miss the battlefield tour to Arnhem with Jack Hawkins in June, but we were able to visit the Double Hills Arnhem Memorial in early September as a group for the first time. That was a good weekend and I hope we can do that again next year.  I was very happy that the Falklands Ride of Respect was able to take place in August and planning for the 2021 ride is in an advanced stage.

We all missed Arnhem this year.  The decision to NOT go was not taken lightly, and taken in full discussion and co-operation with our Dutch friends, they missed us as well and appreciated the fact that we considered their safety and opinion in our decision process. As you may know, Charlie and I flew across to formally present the flower children their pins. This trip enabled us to meet some new friends and strengthen our relationships with others.  Airborne Forces Riders will have a role to play with the Flower Children in Arnhem 2021 and we are also in discussion with the town about a permanent fixture. I will brief on that when everything is arranged.

We will continue to plan for events as normal and they will either go ahead or be rescheduled according to the situation. Rule 9 / 216 always applies: Stay Flexible and be prepared for a change of plan !

Check out the Events section on the AFR Facebook page for what is planned and if anyone wants to include an event let me know.

We have all missed each others company and banter, and to some degree we have all experienced a bit of isolation. However, there are many ways to stay in touch so reach out to others if you can, stay in touch and if someone needs help lets all rally round to fix it.  I know that our lovely lady of Arnhem Connie Bateman appreciated all the cards, flowers and messages on her 94th birthday recently, and especially the personal visit from that equally lovely ‘young man’ Vic Thorn who rode up personally to wish Connie happy birthday on behalf of us all. Thank you Vic !

Finally, I hope everyone had a great Christmas and wish you all the very best for the coming year.