Ladies and Gentlemen,
Although today is intended to be a day of celebration, I know that each one of us feels the unmitigated tragedy of the horrific event in Manchester. Our heartfelt thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their families during this truly dreadful time.
I am honoured to be here today for the Presentation of the New Queen's Colour, and to see so many of you on parade on the conclusion of your recruit training.
These New Colours mark R.A.F. Halton's reputation for excellence, and professionalism in training recruits for the demands of the R.A.F.. I think I can speak for us all when saying that today's parade is testament to the finest traditions of the station.
May I say a particular thank you to the recruits' families and friends (many of whom are here today), for your unstinting support over the past ten weeks. I know that you must be very proud of your loved ones, and I would like to thank you for all your encouragement and support.
I would also like to pay tribute to the outstanding efforts by the training staff for their patience, skill and drive during the course. You have trained these recruits to the very highest standards and I salute you all for a job brilliantly done.
And finally, congratulations to all of you on parade today. You should be extremely proud of your achievements, which hopefully will lead you to exciting, varied and demanding careers. You are now airmen in the oldest independent Air Force in the world which, in these troubled times, continues to play a vital role in protecting our nation.
I wish each of you the very best of British luck.