Take yourself back to early 1986, a local newspaper advert was spotted by Mrs Joan Rayson advertising the Air Training Corps. “ Do you want to go Flying, Gliding, Shooting, Abseiling, Hill Walking!?”
2248 Rutland Squadron was preparing for it’s first intake of girls and Mrs Rayson thought her daughter would be well suited. She duly despatched her to join and so the family’s connection with the Corps began. After only 1 night, mum was asked to bake a cake for the cake stall. Not only did she bake it, she stayed all day to help and of course was co-opted onto the committee. Not days later, the Treasurer slot came up and up came a volunteered Dad/husband! John Rayson joined the Committee as Treasurer.
Fast forward to 2016 and with Joan Rayson now retired, John decided to hang up with CashBook and hand over to a new Treasurer with Spreadsheets. The surprise retirement evening was held at the Squadron at the end of John’s last meeting and started with John being escorted through the cadets who stood as a guard of honour.
Squadron Chairman, Air Commodore A J Griffin AFC DLRAF(Ret’d), hosted the evening and began with his speech: “When I became Chairman in 1998, the best bit of news was that the squadron had the best Treasurer in the Wing and I did not have to worry about money. Well, that was true, although there was not much money to worry about at the time. Since then, our reserves have increased tenfold. John has been treasurer here for 30 years. Both he and Joan were on the Committee when I joined and brought an enormous amount to the squadron – Not least, a young cadet who is now Squadron Leader Julie Rayson Flynn, a Wing Staff Officer in South and East Midlands Wing. It is a great satisfaction to me that both of them have been recognised by the award of Lord Lieutenants Certificates, John in Rutland and Joan in Leicester. Joan eventually left Oakham to Chair and support Committees in Melton, Wigston and finally Hamilton where she transformed their situation.
For 3 years John and Joan also stepped up and ran the Wing Sports Day refreshments not only feeding hungry cadets but also raising substantial funds for the Wing. I can’t list them all, but believe me there are many more things they’ve done”.
John was presented with a framed print from a place very special to him and Joan, the Abbey at Iona, Off the West Coast of Scotland.
The evening was finished off for John by spotting his young grandson Luke who is now also a member of the Corps at 2229 Loughborough Squadron.
After the evening John shared his thoughts “I have thoroughly enjoyed being part of the Corps for 30 years. It is with sadness I leave but have to accept that age and time move on. It has been a pleasure and privilege to help so many young people and see them grow and feel like I was a little part of that. The gift is now hanging on our lounge wall and will help us to always remember some very good times”.
The Squadron, Wing, Region and Corps can never thank them enough for their contribution and can assure them their legacy lives on in both the squadron and their family.