After celebrating his 60th birthday by leading a team of cyclists on a 400-mile cycle ride to the Hebrides and back a trip this month to Holyrood Palace was a cakewalk for a Moray airman.
Squadron Leader Walter Sutherland made the journey to the Royal Palace by more relaxing modes of transport for his important date with Her Majesty the Queen to receive and MBE.
Walter has been employed as the Adjutant for 2622 (Highland) Squadron at RAF Lossiemouth, having taken up the post in 2007 at a time when the Squadron was in need of a major overhaul.
With 18 years service behind him at the time Walter was the perfect man for the job, quickly identifying what needed to be done and turning the RAF Regiment unit into a shining example for others to follow.
It was not just his job that Walter put everything he had into – he has become renowned throughout Moray and beyond for his charitable efforts, most notably the exceptional ‘Hebridean Challenge’ of two years ago when he led a team of cyclists on the 400-mile ride on behalf of Cancer Research UK.
Walter undertook that challenge to mark his own 60th birthday and the 10th anniversary of his son’s untimely death from a rare type of bone cancer. Having set a target of £5000, Walter and his team managed to raise a stunning £38,110 between them.
Of his big day out in Edinburgh Walter said: “We had a great day out at the Palace of Holyrood on what was a glorious Summers day.
“It is extremely flattering that my efforts on behalf of 2622(Highland) Squadron over the past six years were considered worthy of this very prestigious award. It was a particular honour and privilege to receive my MBE from Her Majesty the Queen.”
Walter’s commanding officer at RAF Lossiemouth, Squadron Leader Andrew Liggat, praised his “tenacity and drive” that had been pivotal to the success of the Squadron.
He added: “His endeavours and initiatives have been widely acknowledged and adopted across the RAF Reserves.
“However, it is perhaps in his astonishing efforts in support of the Cancer Research UK charity that he best exemplifies the very finest qualities and traditions of the RAF and RAF Reserves in particular.
“His performance has been nothing short of remarkable and he is wholly deserving of official recognition.”