By John Smith • 20 September 2021 • 15:44
Handing over of the Freedom scroll
Credit: Gibraltar Government
RAF receives Honorary Freedom of the City of Gibraltar with an impressive ceremony in John Mackintosh Square.
ALTHOUGH approved by the Gibraltar Parliament in 2018, it wasn’t until last Saturday September 18 that the Honorary Freedom of the City of Gibraltar was officially granted to the Royal Air Force.
Just a few days earlier many had remembered those skilled pilots and air crew who lost their lives in the Battle of Britain which started on September 15, 1940.
Many don’t realize that there is a City of Gibraltar with its own mayor which exists within the Overseas Territory and it was the mayor, Christian Santos who conferred the honour to Air Vice Marshall Richard Maddison who travelled to the Rock specially for the occasion.
Following this, Chief Minister Fabian Picardo gave a short speech concerning the importance of the RAF to Gibraltar and the decision to bestow this honour was taken unanimously on the occasion of the Centenary of Britain’s Air Force in 2018.
It was the RAF who built the runway during World War II and continues to actually run the airfield to this day, although the terminal is managed by civilian staff.
Referring to the latest act of assistance received by Gibraltar, Picardo said “It was thanks to the Royal Air Force, working closely with the FCDO, the MOD and the Convent in Gibraltar that we were able to deliver our robust and successful vaccination programme.
“I will never forget the cold and wet evening of Saturday 9th January 2021.
“The whole community waited with expectation for the RAF’s A-400 aircraft to defy the weather and land our first doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.”
The rest, as they say, is history.
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Married to Ophelia in Gibraltar in 1978, John has spent much of his life travelling on security print and minting business and visited every continent except Antarctica.
Having retired several years ago, the couple moved to their house in Estepona and John became a regular news writer for the EWN Media Group taking particular interest in Finance, Gibraltar and Costa del Sol Social Scene.
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