Central and East Dine in (70s) Style


Staff from across the Region came together at RAF Henlow for the Central and East  Region’s Formal Dining In Night, with a twist.

After assembling for pre dinner refreshment the diners were treated to an excellent meal served in the agreeable surroundings of the station’s Officer’s Mess.

The convivial atmosphere was greatly enhanced by the excellent musicianship of the Region’s talented air cadets that formed a fine ensemble playing throughout the meal in the Minstrels Gallery.

After Dinner, those assembled were invited to toast our Sovereign before speeches and presentations were begun.

Regional Commandant, Group Captain Nigel Gorman, opened the proceeding by introducing the Honoured Guests, Air Commodore Dawn MacCafferty, Commandant Air Cadets, and RAF Henlow’s Station Commander, Wing Commander Steve Smith.


"Pablo" mason in full flow.

“Pablo” mason in full flow.

The Guest Speaker, with tales of his life in flying both civil and military aircraft kept the diners entertained and, most of the time, greatly amused. Squadron Leader Paul “Pablo” Mason RAF (Rtd) was commissioned into the RAF in 1973 serving on Support Helicopters during the ‘70s and ‘80s before transferring to fast jets. Pablo gained national recognition whilst serving as a Tornado pilot and mission leader during the First Gulf War in 1991. Since leaving the RAF in 1994, Pablo became an airline pilot before hanging up his “goggles” and turning his hand to running a boutique hotel in Royal Leamington Spa with his wife Alicia. Having been an Air Cadet at 165 (Castle Bromwich) Squadron, Pablo felt the urge to give something back to the organisation that had set him on the course he followed. Pablo is now Chairman of Warwickshire and Birmingham Wing Civilian Committee as well as chairing his old squadron’s committee.

Then followed an unusual “quiz” with questions concerning the music of the 1970s Disco scene. After each

Nathan struts his stuff!

Nathan struts his stuff!

question posed was successfully answered, the Assistant Regional Commandant, Squadron Leader Nathan

Wilks, added an item of 1970s apparel to his dress until at the end he resembled a true, long past, Disco Icon of 40 years ago.

After a short speech, Air Commodore MacCafferty presented 22 Group Commendations to Squadron Leaders Charles Dicks (Bedfordshire and Cambridgeshire Wing) and Andy Pass (South and East Midlands Wing).

With the formal part of the evening over, the diners retired for post dinner refreshment and the chance to catch up on gossip and the all important networking.