As so many things do, it started with Emma.

I’d finished my part-time MA in the summer of 2001 and over the next year had found myself at a loose end. “Why don’t you help me at Squadron?” asked Emma, “I’m losing staff and I need help with the paperwork.”

First time I went down was for a fund-raising wakeathon. Not that I could get in through the gate at first, but that’s another story.

Photo: me, ready to fly.
Me, ready to fly. I suffer from motion sickness. You can guess the rest.

A couple of months later I signed on as a Civilian Instructor and took over Adjutant duties at the end of September 2002. After being there for three evenings. It should be remembered that at that point I knew very, very little about flying, the MOD, RAF, cadets, anything.

With help from Emma, some lovely other adults and some remarkably sensible cadets I survived the next 14 years relatively unscathed. I had my first (and last) Air Experience Flight. Man who gets motion sickness looping the loop over York… what did they expect was going to happen?

I went on my first Annual Camp in 2008 – still one of the best holidays I’ve ever had and only cost me a fiver. Several years helping out at the Race for Life in Huddersfield, lots of Wing Athletics competitions. I even learned how to sail at TS Palatine on Lake Hollingworth (now closed). Actually, I went in so many times I drank most of it. And I still have no idea how to sail.

We did the Three Peaks. At least, I did the first Peak, got left behind for the other two and made my way back to Horton in Ribblesdale. Next time I just joined them for lunch.

Remembrance Day Parades and lunches, reunion events, Christmas parties, birthday parties (including my 40th), the Red Bull Air Race – we did so much. And then, I’d write it up, take a photo, send it to the Examiner and we’d get more coverage than you could shake a stick at. I’ve got a file of scans somewhere, I might yet turn it in to a .pdf so you can see it.

But knowing that any new job I get will limit my opportunities to get down even further, I thought it best to call it a day. No longer CI Taylor. But… there’s always the Civilian Committee…