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Who's Who


Mr. Alan Smith CBE FRAeS

Non-Executive Directors
Mr. Colin Basnett CBE MA
Mr. Christopher Bell
Mr. Russell Hoyle

Chief Executive
Mr. Paul Atherton OBE

Mrs Caroline Rogers (Commercial Director)
Mrs Kate McKinley (HR & Volunteer Director)
Mr. Stuart Lindsell (Operations Director)
Group Captain Chris Murray OBE (Company Secretary)

Alan Smith
Born in 1946 in Leicester, Alan has spent most of his career working in retailing. Following a Business Studies Degree at Leeds Polytechnic, Alan rose through the ranks of Joshua Tetley, before being appointed Managing Director of Victoria Wine. He then joined the Kingfisher Retail Group, first as MD of Superdrug, then B&Q, before moving to the role of Chief Executive of Boddingtons, Evans Halshaw, Punch Taverns, and Somerfield Food Stores. His final executive role was as Chairman and Chief Executive of Robert Dyas. Alan is Chairman of ScS Group plc and Displayplan Ltd and a Non-Executive Director of NAAFI.

Non-Executive Director
Colin Basnett
Mr. Colin Basnett served in the RAF from 1979 to 2012 and is currently the Group Director of Strategic Engagement for QinetiQ. Colin enjoyed three tours as an airman, including one in Hong Kong, before being selected for commissioned aircrew service. During his flying career Colin undertook front-line duties on the Tornado GR1 and GR4, including operations over Iraq and Afghanistan, and as a Qualified Weapons Instructor at the Tornado Weapons Conversion Unit. He was also lucky enough to conduct a US exchange tour on the F111F. Colin went on to command No 14 Sqn and RAF Marham before, as an Air Commodore, he undertook his eighth operational tour as Director of the Combined Air and Space Operations Centre, Al Udeid, Qatar. His ground appointments include the Military Assistant to the Deputy Chief of the Defence Staff (Commitments); Personal Staff Officer to the Assistant Chief of the Air Staff; Head of Air Resources and Plans; and Head of the Capability Equipment Plan. Upon leaving the RAF, Colin joined MBDA as the Military Adviser (Air) and, latterly, the Head of Typhoon and Future Combat Air System before joining QinetiQ in 2018.

Non-Executive Director
Christopher Bell

Chris Bell joined the then Allied Breweries Graduate trainee scheme and enjoyed a multitude of roles over the 11 years he was there; from managing to marketing beer brands and pub estates. Chris then spent the next 20 years at Ladbrokes Group and Hilton Hotels, concluding as CEO of Ladbrokes PLC. Over the past few years, Chris has held various Non-Executive roles in high-performance technology businesses and several gaming, commercial property, and pub companies.

Non-Executive Director
Russell Hoyle
Russell runs an independent business consultancy advising small and medium-sized companies on their strategic development opportunities. He is Chairman of Simpatica Group, which has businesses in electronics manufacture, security products, the internet of things and medical technology. A board member of the Responsible Gambling Strategy Board, Russell is also an adviser to Vitruvian Partners, a mid-market private equity fund and is also a Board Advisor to Healthcare at Home Ltd.

Russell is married with 3 grown-up children and a growing army of grandchildren. He is a lapsed PPL IR.

Chief Executive
Paul Atherton

Paul Atherton served for 34 years with the Royal Air Force retiring as an Air Vice-Marshal.  He amassed over 5000 hours as a pilot on VC10, TriStar and C-130 K and J model aircraft.  He commanded No 216 Squadron, Basrah Air Station in Iraq, and RAF Lyneham.  He has undertaken staff and policy appointments in Headquarters 2 Group, MOD, The Defence Procurement Agency (as was) and Air Command.  Notable roles included implementation of wide-ranging joint initiatives resulting from the 1998 Strategic Defence Review and the senior military member of the Future Strategic Tanker Aircraft programme.  Paul has completed both Advanced and Higher Command and Staff Courses and attended the Royal College of Defence Studies.  As an Air Officer he held the positions of Assistant Chief of Staff for Strategy, Policy and Plans and then Air Officer Operations at HQ Air.  On promotion to 2-star he was the Director of the UK Military Aviation Authority before completing his final tour as Chief of Staff Operations, again at HQ Air.  Paul was appointed OBE for his service in Iraq.  On retiring from the regular RAF, he spent 2½ years as the RAF Commander of the USAF installation at Croughton.  An ex Combined Services and RAF cricketer he also has a passionate interest in all sports and was President of the RAF and Adastrian Cricket Clubs, and also Chairman of Combined Services cricket during his time in the Service.  He still retains the role of President of the 216 Sqn Association.

Commercial Director
Caroline Rogers

Caroline Rogers joined the company in 1990 following five years in management in the catering industry. She joined as Special Events Manager, was subsequently promoted to Deputy Director Business Development and is now on the board as Commercial Director. She's responsible for sponsorship and corporate business development. Additionally, her department manages any special projects, the RAF Band concerts, and all VIP events and guest management.

HR & Volunteer Director
Kate McKinley
Kate joined RAFCTE following a 16-year career in the Royal Air Force.  As a Personnel Support Officer, she undertook a range of roles including Head of Personnel, Accounting and Community Support at Royal Air Force College Cranwell. She completed 2 operational tours in Afghanistan, where she worked in multinational Regional Command Headquarters at Kandahar Airfield and Camp Leatherneck.  Following a career break, Kate joined the company in January 2017 as Head of Human Resources and Volunteer Engagement. On 1 October 2019 she was appointed HR & Volunteer Director, responsible to the Chief Executive for resourcing RAFCTE with motivated and competent employees and volunteers.

Operations Director
Stuart Lindsell

Stuart joined RAFCTE following a 23-year career in the RAF. An air mobility pilot, he initially flew the C130K Hercules before converting to the C17 Globemaster. Stuart completed 4 flying tours on the C17, including as the UK C17 Squadron Commander. On completion of his final RAF tour at the Defence Academy of the UK, Stuart joined RAFCTE in May 2018 and was appointed Operations Director in August 2018. He is responsible to the Chief Executive for all air and ground safety and the operational delivery of RIAT.

Company Secretary
Chris Murray

Chris Murray OBE, served in the Royal Air Force for 35 years, retiring in 2008 as a Group Captain. Chris filled a range of appointments in the field of accounting and personnel administration during postings in the UK, Germany, as well as operational tours in Sierra Leone and the Middle East. He was awarded the Order of the British Empire in 2001. Chris joined RAFCTE in 2008 as Company Secretary and Deputy Director Ground Operations. He joined the executive team and Board in 2009.


Head of Marketing
Helen Webb
Helen joined the company in 2008 and is a customer-focused marketing professional with over 20 years of commercial experience in small start-ups through to large multi-nationals. As marketing and customer experience lead for RAFCTE her role is to develop and implement the strategy to promote the Air Tattoo, Concerts and trading activities, engaging with existing and new audiences as well as delivering a great experience. Understanding the customer is key, so feedback, research, and data analysis are particularly important. Helen holds a Business & Marketing Degree, is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Marketing and is on the committee of the British Air Display Association as well as volunteer Chair of the local Business Club. Family connections within the RAF mean that generating funds for the Charitable Trust is very close to her heart.

Head of Hospitality & Events
Philippa Hayday-Brown
Philippa relocated from London having worked at the Royal Academy of Music and then BT within their business marketing and strategy department to join the company on a short term temporary contract within the Aircraft Operations department. 18 short years later, having spent valuable time working in several other internal departments, Philippa heads up the Hospitality and Events team that undertakes the corporate account management of our hospitality clients, the delivery of RIAT Hospitality, both corporate and public and the annual RAF in Concert Tour. If you would like more information on our hospitality options please email moc/etcfar//bhp.

Head of Corporate Relationships
& VIP Events
David Winstone
David Winstone joined the company in 2011 after serving five years as an officer in the British Army. He joined as Executive Officer (Commercial), was subsequently promoted to Corporate Account Manager, and is now Head of Corporate Relations and VIP Events. David's department plans and delivers RAFCTE's VIP events, manages sponsorship sales and is responsible for the RIAT Guest Management operation. David is RAFCTE's lead on corporate, government and international defence relationships. If you would like more information on our sponsorship options please email

Head of Air Operations
Peter Reoch
Peter joined RAFCTE in January 2020 and in his role as Head of Air Operations is responsible for the safe and effective delivery of all air elements of the Royal International Air Tattoo and other Air Tattoo Events Services activities. Before joining the company he worked at Royal Air Force Cosford as their Air Show Operations Manager, and previous to that worked at Air Atlantique looking after their fleet of vintage aircraft. He has a First Class Honours Degree in Aviation Management, with the subject of his award-winning dissertation being the UK Air Show industry. Outside of work Peter is a keen aviation photographer and is also on the executive committee of the British Air Display Association.

Head of Ground Operations
Paul Sayer

During a 29 year career as both an Aircraft Engineering Technician and a Training Development Officer Paul Sayer served in a range of appointments from Jaguar maintenance at RAF Abingdon through tours on both the Tornado GR1 and F3 Operational Conversion Units to Command of Training Development Wing at RAF Cosford. Operational deployments to Basrah and Baghdad sat either side of his time as Chief of Staff in the Air Transport and Air-to-Air Refuelling Force HQ at RAF Brize Norton. Paul left the Royal Air Force in late 2012, from the Joint Services Command & Staff College, joining RAFCTE in Feb 2013 as Head of Ground Operations.


In this section....

“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, Former Formula 1 Racing Driver

“Probably the most complete air show I’ve ever been to!”

Al Worden, Apollo 15 Astronaut

“This is THE best airshow!”

Buzz Aldrin, Apollo 11 Astronaut

“Text TRUST to 70490 to donate £5!”

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