It sounds like the ultimate celebration of sleeping, but the Naphill Festival Fete had too much going on to snooze…
It was no surprise that with the Fete due to start at 1200, by 1100 the five personnel from RAF High Wycombe’s Force Protection Training Flt were all set up and raring to go, with a display of weaponry and equipment to show to attendees of the Napfest 2014 Fete. This was in spite of the organisers also calling on them to provide some muscle with the setup of the rest of the Fete.
Alongside the Force Protection display was Station perennial Mr Dave Brown, who along with his associate Mr Brian Tole used a fantastic scale model of the locomotive ‘Princess Elizabeth’ to run a guessing game for charity. Players had to guess the distance that the real-life train had travelled in her lifetime on the route from London to Glasgow from 1933 to 1962. The only clue given was that the number was between 1,000,000 and 1,999,999 miles, and its markings were hidden to avoid the inevitable web searches. Dave and Brian put all the proceeds to Station charities, and no doubt educated and inspired some future engine drivers. For those who think they can work out the distance the answer will be given at the end. Can you get the right answer within 10,000?
At the end of the line Flt Lt Jo Barlow, Sgt Linda Cole, SAC Paul Hood and Mrs Dani Bowman ran a cake-decorating stall, with the cakes and toppings donated from around the Station. Local children decorated and devoured 70 cakes with all the proceeds being split between the Village Hall and Station Charities, and it provided children with a muchwanted (although parents may argue not needed) energy boost for running around the Fete.
The Force Protection display was extremely popular, so much so that a 10-person limit was enforced to ensure the security of the weapons. Visitors young and old learned about the importance of weapon safety, looking after equipment, and being well-drilled to react to chemical attacks. As well as providing three stalls RAF High Wycombe also provided Police and Fire Service escorts for the ‘Float and Fancy Dress Parade’ through Main Street, and once arrived the Fire Engine and Police car along with two Ambulance Co-Responder vehicles generated plenty of interest from the public.
RAF duties were not finished there. OC Admin Wg, Wg Cdr Alan Jones came along to enjoy the day with his family, but most importantly to judge the winners of ‘best float’ and ‘best fancy dress’ for toddlers, children and adults. Only two floats made it to the Fete but both were fantastic efforts – The Wheel pub doing their version of the Magic Roundabout, and the Women’s Institute providing a double float of Bill and Ben, and Noddy and Big Ears. The decision was tough but Wg Cdr Jones announced the Women’s Institute the winners (it probably didn’t help that half the Magic Roundabout were at the bar!)
A great variety of fancy dress saw victories for a Gruffalo, Tom and Jerry, and some mini-celebrity chefs (with one doing a very good impression of an angry Gordon Ramsey). For the adult fancy dress prize Wg Cdr Jones awarded it deservedly to Bill and Ben. All in all with a day of sunshine and rain in equal measure, a good time was had, cakes and doughnuts were devoured, and all that remained was another example of the positive impact that RAF High ycombe can give to the local community. For those itching to know the answer to Dave’s guessing game – the locomotive ‘Princess Elizabeth’ journeyed 1,526,807 miles in her lifetime.