Friday, 24 September 2021

RAF Chaplain retires at 92

THE chaplain of RAF Benson has been forced to retire — at the age of 92.

THE chaplain of RAF Benson has been forced to retire — at the age of 92.

Padre Stan Jones has been providing pastoral support at the base for more than two decades but stopped this year after his family banned him from driving due to his age.

Mr Jones, who undertook his national service with the Royal Navy, began his long link with the RAF in 1960 when he was appointed officiating chaplain to RAF Middleton St George, which is now Teesside Airport. In 1974 he moved to Alnwick in Northumberland and took on the role of officiating chaplain to RAF Boulmer.

He served in Harrogate during the Eighties before moving south and taking on his role at RAF Benson in 1994.

He gave the Christmas services and would dress as Santa Claus to turn on the Christmas tree lights, to the delight of the children gathered outside the base’s church.



He returned to the air base last month for one last service and a three-course meal in the officers’ mess and was presented with a past and present painting of RAF Benson, originally commissioned for the station’s 75th anniversary.

Mr Jones is one of the few people to have become a member of the “Ten Ton Club” after flying at more than 1,000mph in a Lightning, a supersonic fighter aircraft of the Cold War era.

Gp Capt Simon Paterson, station commander at RAF Benson, presented Mr Jones with his painting and bid him farewell. He said: “It was my absolute honour to formally thank Stan for his outstanding and unerring commitment to the armed forces for so many years.

“He has offered friendship, support and guidance to many thousands of service personnel and their families and he will be greatly missed by all.

“We wish him all the best in his well-earned retirement and extend our grateful thanks to the Jones family, especially his wife Muriel, for sharing him with us for so long.”



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