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The ‘unsung heroes’ of the RAF honoured at Manchester concert

By James Booker

Manchester’s Bridgewater Hall played host to the RAF Charitable Trust’s ‘Unsung Heroes’ tour on Friday night.

The renowned Royal Air Force bands played a concert dedicated to those who might not have received initial recognition for their efforts in the air force.

History generally, and rightly, records the exploits of those who operate in the glare and glamour of frontline operations, but this evening was dedicated to those people in roles that are less documented but nonetheless essential.

Musically, it saw a mix of the traditional marches of the forces with some of the classic swing numbers and musical showstoppers, before culminating in a patriotic medley of wartime favourites.

The music combined the talents of Royal Air Force Bands, the RAF Swing Wing and the RAF Squadronaires.

The evening also had a familiar voice as compere. Alan Dedicoat, also known as the Voice of the Balls, the voice of Strictly Come Dancing and ‘Deadly’ on Radio 2, lent his soothing vocals to the evening.

Every year, the RAF bands tour has a different theme, with this year the focus being on the types of people who didn’t receive the glory or the press at the time of service.

Tour Organiser Philippa Hayday-Brown said: “People really make an occasion out of this and the feedback is always incredibly positive.”

Ms Hayday-Brown, who has organised the tour since 2000, also praised the support that the organisation receive in the Manchester area.

“The people of Manchester are incredibly loyal in their support of the RAF, and it’s great to see that they’re so proud of it.”

Peter and Jacqui Smith, from Cheshire, were delighted at having stumbled across the event almost by chance.

Mr Smith, whose father was in the RAF, said: “We saw it in the Bridgewater Hall newsletter and thought, ‘why not?’

“We’re really glad we came, the variety is superb and we would definitely come back again next year.”

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