Thursday, 18th December 2014

Airbase’s royal link subject of MBE chat

North Shropshire’s royal connections were up for discussion when a squadron leader from RAF Shawbury met the Prince of Wales to receive an MBE he was awarded in the Queen’s New Year’s Honours List.

Neil Hope was presented with the honour at Buckingham Palace yesterday (Wednesday, February 29).

He said the heir to the throne chatted with him about Princes William and Harry, who trained as helicopter pilots at the county airbase in 2009 and 2010.

Sqn Ldr Hope was being recognised for his charity work and efforts to make the Shropshire airbase more efficient. In the past six years he has raised at least £100,000 under his Taking Football to Africa and Beyond Appeal, which collects and redistributes football kits to children in developing countries.

He said: “It was an excellent day and the ceremony took place in a huge room at the palace.

“Prince Charles and I had a quick chat as he put the medal on me and we spoke about Shawbury and the fact that he has been there because his lads trained there.

“He said he remembered me from his visits there and we also spoke about the football shirts appeal and, briefly, noise complaints at the base.”

Sqn Ldr Hope was joined inside the palace by mum Norma, wife Helen and daughter Charlotte, nine. Sons Christopher and Seb-astian joined him outside as celebrations continued.