Firstly, I’d like to wish all the team and supporters of the Hawker Typhoon Preservation Group a Happy and Healthy New Year. Last year, I’m glad we can call 2020 that now, was without a doubt the most difficult year the charity has faced since its formation in 2016.
The year was dominated by the COVID-19 pandemic, as was the rest of the world. The pandemic forced major replanning of every single event the team had planned; from March through to December not a single function or event, physical, online or otherwise, went ahead as planned. Early in the year it was identified that the project needed one focal point of direction, one person to coordinate efforts and provide clear directives to the team. The project had been built from the ground up by the trustees, with them doing everything, and I mean everything, for the project. A trustee should not be doing that and so the post of director was created. The director reports to the trustees and is responsible for directing the project, on their legal behalf, but providing one clear direction and focus to the managers and wider team.
I was more than happy to be asked to take up this role as it is a continuation of the work I have done for the project from long before day one. I now do this work not as a trustee, although I remain in that legal position, but as director. As the director of the project I am responsible for guiding the team in the right direction with the assistance of the management team, in order to allocate our very limited resources appropriately and safeguard not only the survival of the project, but its ongoing development as we work towards our one key aim – raising the funds required to rebuild Hawker Typhoon RB396. The work is not easy and with the limited resources we have we cannot do everything we would like, at times I have to make tough decisions that may not be popular with everyone. I do not relish that, however I acknowledge it as a necessary part of steering this project forward and in the right direction. The ultimate goal is to see RB396 fly; the journey to get there will be ever more difficult and at times it will not be “fun”, it will be hard work with jobs needing to be done that some may not want to do. But the ultimate goal must be kept in sight, for that will be our reward.
As the director of the project I will make some promises going forward, these are things that I have abided by so far, that have got the project to this stage, and things I will continue to abide by going forward. I hope, indeed I expect, that those on the team and those supporting the project do the same. I promise to:
- Show action, not words. If I say I am going to do something, I will back that up with the required amount of action to ensure that it is done. I expect that of myself and I expect that of others. I listen to actions not words, as too many times many people have promised the world to the project and not delivered. I take note of those who deliver on their promises, no matter how small. I expect my team to do the same – do what they say they will.
- Uphold the highest standards. Attention to detail has been the philosophy that has allowed this project to reach the position it is – nearly £1million raised or pledged in four years, an incredible achievement from what is essentially a group of amateurs. Attention to detail has led to the credibility that we need to establish in order to work towards our one key aim. Everything must be right, to an incredibly high standard and ideally, strive for perfection. We must not settle for average, or second best. Good enough is not good enough. Perfection is good enough and we must all strive for that. I do, and I expect my team to.
- Demonstrate dedication. We are all working on this project in our spare time, around jobs, families, lives and other interests. It is easy to forget that sometimes when you look at the way the project conducts itself. There are no staff, not one. We, the project team, and the trustees, are all volunteers. However, I treat this as a job. I have made an obligation to the project and I expect others who do so to treat it with the same level of respect one would have for their job. That means putting in the hours, sacrificing spare time, evenings and weekends. Because without employing a full time work force at great expense, that is the only way to see this project through.
- Be accountable. Following on from the above, I expect to be held to account for what I say I will do, reminded if I have missed something and corrected on any errors I make. I also promise to do this with the team. We are all human and working on this in our spare time, but that is no excuse or reason for letting things slip and so we must all be accountable to each other for this to succeed.
I have held these values true forever and will continue to do so going forward. Indeed in all my time with the project they have resulted in the project that we have today. I expect the same things of those on the team.
By ensuring that we have action over words, we uphold the highest standards in all that we do, we show dedication to the task and that we are accountable, the project will continue to flourish. Whilst 2020 was the most difficult year in our history, because of the actions taken it was also the most successful. More funds were raised or pledged than in any other, and in the nine months from 1st April more than double the funds were raised or pledged than in the entire previous financial year. The results of the actions taken speak for themselves. They are a result of holding these values to heart and putting in the effort. I promise that 2021 will see more of the same and that it will continue to see the project grow.
So, once again, a Happy New Year to the team and all of the supporters of this great project. Together, we’re going to make this year even better and take many more steps towards seeing Hawker Typhoon RB396 grace the skies once more.