Wings to the Past

Wednesday 22nd February 2023

This month Wings to the Past started a new project near RAF Waddington codenamed ‘Bishops Challenge’. Over 20 RAF Service personnel and their families from several Lincolnshire RAF units investigated the heritage and archaeology of a significant manorial site. 

Operation Bishops Challenge

During the weekend 18 – 19 February, working with partner Dr Derwin Gregory of Bishop Grosseteste University, Wings to the Past and its participants, including Service personnel, partners and children, undertook 2 days of field walking, working as a team they systematically collected artefacts. The finds generated enabled a better understanding of what might have happened in those fields throughout history.

Wings to the Past findings

The site near RAF Waddington had already produced amazing finds from a recce weekend earlier in the month and Wings to the Past were hoping for the same and the site didn’t disappoint. It was known that the site had had many phases of occupation, and this was certainly reflected in the finds.  The highlights were many worked flints, lots of roman pottery, medieval glazed ware and other medieval artefacts as well as lots of post medieval items.

Wings to the Past Operation Bishops Challenge

The participants had a great time and commented about how much they enjoyed it and learn ‘t from the experience.

Dr Derwin Gregory commented:

“Their (the participants) enthusiasm, professionalism, and hard work was really refreshing, and they were a joy to work with. I am excited by the prospect of working more with them in the future”.

One of the children said:

“I loved finding things and being closer to the mud I could see more than my mum and dad”.

Katie a commercial archaeologist whose husband is Serving RAF said:

“I forget how exciting finding the past can be, this weekend, seeing the joy on people faces has reminded me why I enjoy archaeology.”

Wings the Past are now actively working with Dr Gregory of Bishop Grosseteste University and other partners to develop more events for 2023 and beyond.

Suzy, a Serving RAF officer and the Programme Director and Co Founder said:

“We are delighted that Wings to the Past has come back so strongly after COVID stopped our activities, we have some amazing plans in place and hope to offer opportunities for many more RAF personnel and families in the coming months and years”.

Award Nominations

Wings to the Past are also pleased to announce that James, the inspiration for Wings to the Past and Digital Manager at only 15 has been selected to be one of the finalists in the ‘Young People’s Award: Giving Back to the Armed Forces Community’ category at this year’s Celebrating Forces Families (CFF) awards. He will attend the Awards Evening at the Victory Services Club (VSC) in London in April.

About Wings to the Past

Wings to the Past uses archaeology and heritage to promote personal resilience in RAF Service personnel and their families. Offering individuals the chance to spend ’quality time’ together as a family or part of a group of personnel. Archaeology has been shown to support resilience amongst veterans and Wings to the Past builds on this by seeking to support RAF families and personnel by offering them an opportunity to work together on exciting archaeological and heritage projects.

The participants at Wings to the Past previous projects have feedback that the projects had been a great success, not only in the fact that they had been able to learn about history but also that they had proved the presence of significant archaeological remains. More importantly, the projects had been an overriding success in getting RAF personal and their families to simply spend time together.

Support Wings to the Past

Wings to the Past is a not-for-profit organisation and needs funding to help continue to run activities to benefit more RAF personnel and their families, donations can be made at their website: Wings to the Past.

Wings to the Past logo

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