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Swinging time for the RAFA

Blackhall RAFA members (front from left) Arthur Deakin, Bob Steel and Laurence Crozier and (rear) Corporal Neil Wharton (left) and Sgt Robert Scullion

Blackhall RAFA members (front from left) Arthur Deakin, Bob Steel and Laurence Crozier and (rear) Corporal Neil Wharton (left) and Sgt Robert Scullion

A NIGHT of big sounds is on the way as air force veterans host the grand finale of their 50th anniversary celebrations.

Blackhall Royal Air Force Association (RAFA) is hosting a night of music by the Royal Air Force Swing Wing Band.

The band, based at RAF Cranwell, in Lincolnshire, will perform during a concert at Hartlepool Town Hall Theatre, in Raby Road, from 7.30pm on Friday, February 14.

It tops off a year of celebratory events to mark the association’s half-century.

As well as 18 musicians including five trumpeters, four trombonists, five saxophonists, plus bass guitarist, drums and piano, the night will include vocals from Andrews Sisters-style group The Blue Belles.

Bob Steel, secretary/treasurer of Blackhall RAFA , who lives in Hart Station, Hartlepool, started his national service aged 18 in 1956 and was based at Seaton Snook as well as in Lancashire.

He has been with the association for 43 years.

Mr Steel said he enjoyed the “friendship” element of the association, which supports current and former service personnel.

He added: “We are really looking forward to the concert, it’s absolutely fantastic because these are some of the true people of the association that have stuck by the branch and club through thick and thin.”

Blackhall RAFA was first formed in 1962 and met in the former Trust building, which is now the Chimneys hotel.

They have met in Blackhall Navy Club, in Middle Street, a former church hall, since 1964.

Proceeds from the night will go towards Hartlepool and District Hospice and the RAF Benevolent Fund.

Corporal Neil Wharton, who has been in the forces and the band for 12 years, plays the trombone with the band.

During a tour of the theatre, he said: “There is a bit of everything, from Glen Miller to modern-day.

“The band love doing stuff for the RAFA.

“It’s a lovely venue, we are looking forward to playing.”

Sergeant Robert Scullion, a trumpeter in the band, added: “It starts off with music from the early 1940s, it’s an interesting and varied programme.”

Tickets for the night are £12 or £11 for concessions and available from the theatre box office on (01429) 890000.

 

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