PUBLISHED: 17:34 16 August 2012 | UPDATED: 21:44 20 February 2013

AC Rogers and Donegan place flowers on the grave of Group Captain Finlay

AC Rogers and Donegan place flowers on the grave of Group Captain Finlay

Team tidies up St Michael and All Angels church in Halton Village

Recruits from RAF Halton have taken time out of their training to volunteer in the local community and to remember a RAF Olympian.

Fifty Recruits and four Instructors from Campion Intake, Recruit Training Squadron (RTS), have lent their skills to tidy up St Michael and All Angels church in Halton Village. They enthusiastically used their somewhat basic gardening skills to tidy up graves, footpaths and hedges.

One particularly poignant moment for the Recruits was tidying up and clearing weeds from Group Captain Donald Finlays grave. The Recruits fondly know his name because their gymnasium is name after this famous RAF Officer and Olympic Athlete. The Recruits were intrigued to know more about this individual due to his connection to RAF Halton and of course the Olympic Games which so happens to be taking place only 50 miles away in London.

Group Captain Don Finlay used to fly Spitfires during WWII and was based at RAF Halton at the end of his career. In his spare time he trained in the 110 metre hurdles and competed at several Olympic Games; Los Angles in 1932 and Berlin in 1936. In 1948 he was selected to be Team GB Captain for the London Olympics.

Aircraftswoman (AC) Gemma Waters said: I feel really humble and proud to be able to clear away the overgrown bushes and weeds from all the graves.

Every intake on RTS undertakes a community project as part of their training. Campion Intake are close to completing the first phase of their course and those who pass all aspects will graduate in September.

Jennie Ainsworth, Treasurer for the church, said: Campion Intake have been excellent. They have worked extremely hard, especially in clearing graves and also cleaning the church brass, which is no small feat. The connection between RAF Halton, RTS and the church is strong and it is a pleasure to host Recruits here.

After a long sunny day spent digging, scraping and clearing bushes and weeds, the Recruits were given a brief about Group Captain Finlay, his achievements and his relationship with RTS. AC Alexander Rogers and AC Martin Donegan kindly placed flowers on his grave to mark what was a moving day it had been for Recruits, the community and, of course, the church.

Corporal Dale Jones, an instructor on Campion Intake, said: This type of activity gives the Recruits a sense of pride and perspective. It is amazing to see how hard the Recruits have worked and also the differences they are making in their local community.

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