Posted: Tuesday 30th January 2018
Jonah Scott - a Year 4 pupil at Wheatcroft Primary School - got the surprise of his life on Monday 29 January when the RAF visited his school to present him with first prize in the Hertfordshire Armed Forces Covenant Christmas Art Competition, organised by Hertfordshire County Council.
The Armed Forces Covenant Christmas Art Competition, in its fifth year, allows primary school children at schools in Hertfordshire to send seasonal greetings to members of the armed forces working away from their families at Christmas.
In 2018 the RAF celebrates its 100th birthday, so the competition linked-up with RAF Henlow to send their greetings to aircrew working in the middle east. Nearly 1000 entries were received from children across the county, with the best sent out to an RAF base for judging, and to brighten up their Christmas.
The judging provoked a lot discussion, with the judges finding it incredibly difficult to select the best piece of work, given the quality of the entries. In the end it came down to a tied vote, the commander of the base having the casting vote.
Jonah Scott knew none of this when he came to his assembly on Monday 29 January, but he could not have missed the representatives of the RAF and 254 Medical Regiment, with their battlefield ambulance parked in the playground. He and all of his schoolmates were already curious and excited – this was not going to be an ordinary assembly.
The presentation was opened by Cllr Terry Douris, Chair of Hertfordshire Armed Forces Covenant Board, after who Sqd Ldr Craig Hodgskinson from RAF Henlow told the children all about the judging and how much the RAF appreciated their efforts, and passed on a special message from pilots from the Red Arrows display team. He then displayed the winning picture on the screen, much to the surprise and excitement of the winner and his friends.
The children then had a chance to ask the RAF and 254 Ambulance representatives all about the work they do, before being able to look at the ambulance and all of the fascinating equipment the RAF had brought with them.
The Armed Forces Covenant is a promise from the nation that those who serve or have served, and their families, are treated fairly. Hertfordshire County Council signed the Covenant in 2011 and encourages local areas to support the armed forces community to: nurture public understanding and awareness among the public of issues affecting the armed forces community, recognise and remember the sacrifices faced by the armed forces community, encourage activities which help to integrate the armed forces community into local life and encourage the armed forces community to help and support the wider community.
For more information about events and the Covenant visit www.hertfordshireheroes.org