Air Tattoo volunteering reunites old friends
Published: 21 Jul 2022
Two aircraft enthusiasts who grew up together in India have been reunited after 10 years while volunteering at the world's largest military airshow.
Ankur Sharma and Kunal Bharti have been volunteering at the Royal International Air Tattoo for the first time this year in the hospitality team, managing the chalet clients.
The two went to kindergarten and school together in Delhi before each of them moved away in their 20s. Whilst they have kept in touch over the years, their stint at the airshow is the first time they've seen each other in 10 years.
Ankur, who lives in Melbourne, Australia, has been volunteering at Avalon airshow in the city for 15 years but decided a stint at the Air Tattoo would provide an opportunity to reunite with his friend.
Ankur said: "I saw the opportunity to volunteer and thought 'let's do it'. We used to use dial up internet to search for photographs of aircraft when we were 13 years old. It was that passion of aircraft that made us want to volunteer.
"The best thing about being here is the people you meet along the way and the camaraderie. We are working long hours, aching from walking around the showground and people ask why we do it. It's for the aircraft and the people, it's fantastic."
Kunal added: "I am definitely going to be volunteering again. The volunteer energy is one you don't find in a workplace. We are all here because we want to be and it is an amazing disconnect from your day job.
"If anyone is thinking about volunteering here, don't think, just do it. You are working with loads of people from different walks of life. It's fantastic."
The Royal International Air Tattoo has a team of 1,500 volunteers, working in roles ranging from customer service and hospitality to site and engineers.