Tuesday, 28 September 2021

RAF Benson pilot made MBE

A MERLIN helicopter pilot based at RAF Benson has been made a Member of the British Empire.

A MERLIN helicopter pilot based at RAF Benson has been made a Member of the British Empire.

Toby Sawbridge, who is second-in-command of 28 Squadron, was honouredfor his services to both the Merlin force and the wider community.

Sqn Ldr Sawbridge, 42, has been deployed twice in Afghanistan, most recently over Christmas. Following the withdrawal of the Sea King helicopters from Afghanistan, he inspired his crews to develop their night-time capability, markedly reducing their exposure to enemy threat.

Sqn Ldr Sawbridge is in charge of RAF Benson’s charities committee and obtained several thousand pounds worth of cricket to equipment, including nets, for use at Camp Bastion.

He is responsible for overseeing all fund-raising duties at the station and is preparing to join his squadron in cycling 1,000 miles from RAF Benson to Milan.

Sqn Ldr Sawbridge, who is married with two children, Maddy, 11, and Olly,10, said he was inspired by his father Richard, who was killed in a road accident last year.

He said: “My father was a stalwart of the community himself and I am certain he would have been very proud, both of the impact we have had on the local community and, of course, of the award of an MBE to his son.”

Sqn Ldr Sawbridge joined the RAF in 1989 as a pilot and has previously conducted tours with the RAF Flight Safety Team and Headquarters Air Command. He comes from Seaton, Devon.

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