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15 Jun 2023

R22 swapped wheels for wings

Region 22 took a trip to RAF Spadeadam armed with Porsches  

R22’s visit to RAF Spadeadam was kindly organised by an R22 member: Squadron Leader Ben Satterthwaite. Ben has tried to get this event off the ground (pun very much intended) for the last couple of years but, due to global events that include the ongoing war in Ukraine, it had not been possible until now. Spadeadam is an operational RAF base, after all.
But 2023 was the year and, after plenty of negotiations back and forth, we had a plan. Besides, what better timing could there be than coinciding with the 75th Anniversary of Porsche? We originally planned for 10 cars, then 20. Then Ben and the team decided “Let's go big!”, so we put the invitation out to the wider membership and lined up 50 cars. We weren't sure we could pull this off but, with military precision and planning from Ben's team, it was going to be an amazing event!
Thanks to Ben's commanding officer, Wing Commander Andrew Tidmarsh – who is the proud owner of a beautiful 718 Cayman – we were generously granted access to the UK’s only electronic warfare tactics range. Wg Cdr Tidmarsh was extremely excited about the event and his opening up the base for us was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Thanks to this and with great support from our neighbours in R3 and their newly appointed RO David Carnaffin, we devised a plan to tour the base in key locations and make a ‘75’ with a border out of our cars on 8 June. 

We wanted Porsche Centre South Lakes to be fully involved with this exclusive visit to the base too. Simon Parker and Richard Smith from PC South Lakes are huge advocates of the Club and all it stands for, and have supported the Club both locally and nationally since Simon's grandad first set up as a Porsche dealer with Parker & Parker.
The day arrived and so did we. All of the members were officially welcomed by Andrew and Ben, who briefly ran through the rules of the base before splitting the cars into two groups of 25. We headed off to our first location on the range known as Greymare, where we were treated to a brief history of Blue Streak – Britain’s only nuclear ballistic missile programme – which had its genesis at RAF Spadeadam. We were able to see the huge concrete rocket launching pads that are a legacy of the programme and take location pictures of the cars next to some military hardware. 
We then went in convoy to the second location at Prior Lancy, where we had further great photo opportunities of breathtaking views and more military relics from the station’s Cold War days. 

When we had finished there too, we headed off in convoy for the grand finale. We celebrated in style on the giant helicopter pad (which can fit eight Chinook helicopters at once!) by creating a giant ‘75’ out of all of the cars, with one of RAF Spadeadam’s mobile air defence vehicles as a centrepiece. We were up against it with the light and falling temperatures, but we managed to get a great picture and another one later on with our lights on as well. Richard did a sterling job behind the camera, as always.
This was one of the most interesting and special events I have had the privilege of being involved in and of attending both as a member and an official of the Club. I would like to say what a well-received and special event this was, and thank you to Ben and his team and David from R3. Without their support, none of this would have been possible.
I have also been asked to pass on a special thank you from the team at RAF Spadeadam for all the generous donations to the RAF Benevolent Fund, which totalled £385.

use the button below to see even more photos from this fantastic evening.

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