Benson 73 Awards

RAF Benson recently hosted its annual awards ceremony to recognise and celebrate the outstanding performance of personnel through their primary and secondary duties.

The ‘Benson 73’, so titled to honour Benson’s 73 year history. 73 personnel were nominated from across the Station, from Service and civilian personnel, for their noteworthy contributions to four categories: Professional Excellence; Teamwork; Loyalty; and Resourcefulness and Innovation. In addition, the ‘Spirit of Benson’ award was presented: an annual honour that is given to an individual who has overcome considerable adversity to achieve personal and professional excellence.

The ceremony was attended by AVM Matt Wiles, COS Pers from HQ Air. AVM Wiles’ career in the RAF spans over 30 years and he has undertaken numerous roles within the SH Force as well as command roles and overseas operational deployments.

All nominees received a signed certificate, with the winners being presented with a framed award and trophy. The Spirit of Benson award is a small sword enclosed in a wooden case. The winners in each category were:

Professional Excellence
Cpl Sarah Robinson, Personnel Services Flight. Sarah received her award for her outstanding performance during a particularly busy period which saw many staff deployed to support the 2012 Olympics. She displayed natural leadership skills and sheer professionalism, often working overtime to meet deadlines and achieve goals, whilst simultaneously striving to seek improvements to the Flight’s customer service.

SAC(T) Sam Beed, Puma Depth Support Hub. Sam received his award for his personification of the phrase ‘team player’. An exceedingly talented airman, Sam continually produces outstanding results in all his undertakings, particularly his specialist field of structural repairs. He is always the first to volunteer for additional tasks, no matter how obscure or time consuming they may be, with a notable example being the renovation of the RAF Benson Gate Guardian. Sam has also deployed at short notice to undertake aircraft repairs on an aircraft deployed to a different unit.

Mrs Sue Faulds, Civilian Caterer, Junior Ranks’ Mess. Sue received her award for her unerring loyalty to the Mess. ‘Sandwich Sue’, as she is affectionately known to the Junior Ranks, has run the sandwich bar for the past seven years. Her continued hard work and support to Station personnel is pivotal to morale and the well being of customers.

Resourcefulness & Innovation
SAC Sean Marshall, Merlin Force Forward Stores. Sean received his award for his commendable actions and initiative which has greatly increased efficiency and effectiveness within his area of responsibility and beyond. In addition to carrying out all his duties to the highest possible standard, Sean established a new system for the management of the main and tail rotor blades for the Merlin helicopter, ensuring issues relating to the availability of these mission critical assets were rectified.

Spirit of Benson
FS Andy Lyes, Crewman and QHI, 33 Sqn. Andy received his award for his amazing strength of character and dogged determination in the face of life-threatening illness. Whilst deployed on exercise in support of Army training in Kenya, Andy developed a sore throat and hoarse voice. He continued to fly and instruct without complaint, eventually seeking medical advice. After an initial consultation Andy’s condition worsened considerably and, whilst at home, he found himself struggling to breathe. Andy drove himself to the John Radcliffe hospital where he remained for five days for tests after undergoing a tracheotomy. It was eventually discovered that Andy was suffering from a very severe illness; one which only sees a handful of cases worldwide every year.

After a period of recuperation, Andy attended a Medical Board to confirm he was fit to continue flying and, after being awarded full flying medical category, Andy returned to his role as a crewman in the Puma helicopter the very next day!

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