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Queen Honours Air Tattoo Stalwart

Published: 17 Jun 2017


Alan Smith, one of the most enduring and influential figures behind the Royal International Air Tattoo and its parent charity, the RAF Charitable Trust (RAFCT), has been recognised in the Queen's Birthday Honours List.

Air Marshal Sir Kevin Leeson, Chairman of the Royal Air Force Charitable Trust writes:

On behalf of all the RAFCT Trustees, the boards and staff of RAFCTE and Scampton Airshow Ltd and all our RIAT and Scampton Airshow volunteers, we send our heartiest congratulations to Alan Smith on his appointment as a Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire in the Queen's Birthday Honours List announced today. This is well-deserved recognition for Alan's tremendous efforts with both the RAF Benevolent Fund and the RAF Charitable Trust for over 27 years.

Alan first got to know us as a RIAT sponsor when he held various illustrious positions in the UK retail industry. His undoubted passion for aviation saw him develop a close relationship with the RAFBF who then sponsored RIAT. In 1990, the Fund faced a significant challenge in mounting a much-needed multi-million pound appeal to commemorate the 50th Anniversary of the Battle of Britain. Alan brought his marketing expertise to bear to make the appeal a great success.

Alan's work with RIAT brought him into contact with our sister charity, Flying Scholarships for Disabled People. For 12 years, as both a Trustee and Chairman, Alan reorganised the Charity and found fresh income streams, making it the highly-acclaimed endeavour, which has now taught over 400 disabled people to fly.

In 2005 Alan was instrumental in reshaping the parenting of RIAT to create RAFCT. He has been an inspiration to us all and has devoted enormous time to the success of the enterprise in a multitude of unremunerated roles. He has been a dynamic Non-Executive Director and latterly an inspirational Chair of RAFCTE for over 11 years and has been a Trustee of RAFCT for the last 6 years. In this time, we have benefitted from Alan's leadership, drive and business skills that have been so instrumental in delivering more than five million pounds of surplus, which has been used to enrich the lives of RAF personnel, fund a wide range of activities of the Air Cadet Organisation and inspire young people in aviation careers.

We are delighted that Her Majesty has recognised this long period of volunteer service with the award of a CBE and our best wishes go to Alan and his family.

“It was an epic spectacle, as magical as anything you've ever seen in the West End, and as loud as anything you've ever heard at Knebworth.”

Jeremy Clarkson, Television Presenter

“All the thrills, excitement and noise of a Grand Prix, but in the air!”

Jenson Button, Formula 1 Racing Driver

“This is the best airshow!”

Buzz Aldrin, Apollo 11 Astronaut

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