Following on from our announcement that Essex Military Support Association has joined the team we sat down with Dan Rodgers to find out more about him and the activities of Essex Military Support Association.
Hi Dan welcome aboard, tell us a little about yourself?
Hi, its great to have been offered this opportunity to be involved in such an iconic community event. My name is Dan Rodgers, 34 from Rayleigh. I am a keen fundraiser and strong organiser. I have been a longtime supporter of my local football team Southend United and currently work full-time for the Echo newspaper so I’m very passionate about our local communities in the south of Essex and if I am able to use my skills and experience to give a little something back to the people of Essex, I’m more than happy to do that.
You ran Armed Forces Day Rayleigh event this year, how did it go?
Yes, the event in Rayleigh was extremely successful, even more so than we have ever had hoped for. I put together the Essex Military Support Association towards the end of 2012 made up of a number of former members of our Armed Forces, local businesses and members of the community. The way the group worked as a team was clear to see on the day by the level of support given to us by the Armed Forces was on a level never seen before in the South of the County and the people of the local communities really turned out in force with some 12000+ coming along to see the incredible displays and performances by the military and local groups. It is really heart warming to know that there is that many people within our communities that support what we did and I hope we can build on that again in Rayleigh next year, as well as a number of other projects we are working on, not forgetting a certain airshow in September 2014 we’re all looking forward too.
You had fantastic support from the military, how did you manage it?
The support from the military was overwhelming and of course without their support the event couldn’t have been what it was, with numerous local units showing their support and also we had a strong show of support from a number of troops from Colchester who came down on their day off to enjoy the great entertainment we provided. We have worked very hard to build strong relationships with these units and its this combined with the success of our event in June that has put us in a very strong position to improve our event next year and to bring some very special things to the Airshow in 2014.
Why are you joining Southend Airshow & Military Festival team?
The Southend Airshow is one of the most iconic events not only in Essex but also on the international airshow calendar and this is shown in the incredible numbers that regularly attended the event previously. We were extremely fortunate that our event was so successful and just one of the great things that came off the back of this was to get involved with the Southend Airshow and Military Festival. I think this is an amazing and saying no was never an option. I’m hoping to be able to use my contacts within the Forces as well as the strength of my team to put together some great ground displays for the airshow taking it back to its heyday back in the 80′s and 90′s when we used to have a strong military support on the day.
What is the best aspect of the Airshow?
For me personally, its going to an event that can capture your imagination all day no matter what your age. Of course the planes will play a huge part in this, but between the displays you always need something going on and with a good airshow, this is never in short supply.
Anything else you’d like to mention?
The Essex Military Support Association is a fairly new group and we are growing fast, but we need your support to continue this growth and not only assist in making Southend Airshow a better airshow for the future, but also we a number of other events throughout the year. We would love any potential volunteers to be involved and if you would like to help us or get involved, please contact us through the details on our Facebook page.