An RAF Griffin helicopter from RAF Shawbury flew into Worcestershire County Cricket Club and gently set down on New Road’s hallowed turf on Tuesday. This urban approach training flight was used to deliver the match ball for the start of the traditional four day pre-Ashes game between Worcestershire and Australia. The capacity crowd applauded the flying skills of the aircraft which made a perfect landing to be met on the pitch by Air Vice Marshal Paul Atherton, John Elliot President of WCCC and Cpl Graeme Cessford who has been selected to play for Worcester this season. Minutes later Air Cadets from Kings School and Royal Grammar School CCFs formed a guard of honour to welcome the Worcestershire and Australian teams.
All of this, along with the presence of RAFA, gave a light blue tinge to this important fixture. Graeme, who should have been playing in the match but picked up an injury two days earlier, said: Naturally I am disappointed not to be on the field against Australia but just to be part of this team is a wonderful experience and I am hoping to be fit for other matches very soon.”
Cpl Cessford has been granted elite sportsman status by the RAF which enables him to play for Worcestershire this year. As well as turning in some impressive performances on the pitch, one of which has earned him the “man of the match” accolade, Graeme is also engaged in a series of visits to schools and sports clubs giving young people the message that a careers in the RAF can lead you in unexpected directions.
“The great thing about being part of the RAF is that the service is geared towards helping people to fulfil their potential, whether that is in engineering, flying, music or sport. I have been delighted at the support the RAF has given me and I am working as hard as I can to make the most of this unique opportunity.”