A Warrant Officer who dedicates free time to helping members of the RAF Leeming community has been announced this year’s winner of the prestigious Wing Commander Bye Sword.
Acting Warrant Officer Donna Trenholme was nominated for the annual award for her tireless enthusiasm in her work and personal life – dedicating time to organise events and to co-ordinate RAF Leeming volunteers for SSAFA (The Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Families Association), a charity that provides a lifetime of support to those who have ever served in the Armed Forces, and their families.
Donna, 45, said: “I was a bit shocked really. It’s an honour to be given something like this from the Station but it was an achievement by the whole team really, not just me. I enjoy working with SSAFA – I like being part of a team of like-minded people. Not everyone can afford to give a lot of money to charity, but the volunteers are giving their time. It reminds me that there is another world outside service life and gives me a different way of looking at things.”
As well as recruiting and managing volunteers, Donna gives her own time for a wide range of SSAFA tasking from driving to babysitting. She combines this with a busy work life as Operations Warrant Officer on 90 Signals Unit. “We look after all the personnel who are deployed or about to deploy. We are a focal point for any problems and people come to us for guidance.”
Donna, who has served in the RAF for 27 years, was nominated for the Wg Cdr Bye Sword by her line manager, Flight Lieutenant Nicholas Howard. The sword is given in memory of Wing Commander David Bye, who lost his battle against cancer in 2005 at the age of 47. It is presented at RAF Leeming each year to the junior officer or senior non-commissioned officer who has made the most significant difference to life on Station or in the local community.
Flt Lt Howard said in his nomination: “FS Trenholme not only performed exceptionally well in her primary duty, but also held high profile duties serving the local community and the Station. 2012 was an exceptional year for her.”
The sword was presented to FS Trenholme by Air Marshal Sir Andrew Pulford, Deputy Commander Capability and Air Member for Personnel and Capability. Special guest of honour was Wing Commander Bye’s widow, Ros. She has said of the award. “I think David would really appreciate what is being done in his name. He really loved the Royal Air Force and would have really supported the values that have been rewarded. They are something for all the young people in the Air Force to emulate.”