The Fleet Air Arm's support of the SDMF has been present in varying degrees since Sir David Martin died. In the early days it was due to the respect in which he was held by the Fleet Air Arm as a former Commanding Officer of the aircraft carrier, HMAS Melbourne.
As Governor of New South Wales Sir David was particularly shocked and concerned about homeless and disadvantaged youth who had no one to care about them or their future. This lead to the establishment of Sir David Martin Foundation, which he hoped would be one step towards reaching his dream of 'an Australian community where children can grow up in safety, with hope and opportunity.'
In the intervening 25 years, the connection has remained strong between Sir David, the RAN and Fleet Air Arm. Sir David’s son-in- law, Commodore Vince Di Pietro has, during his command, been able to entice many of his people to join him in our Abseil for Youth event with their fundraising total over two years exceeding $45,000. Vince is retiring from the Navy after 39 years (and 8 months) but hopes that those continuing to serve will continue to support the abseil event.
In December the abseilers were invited to attend Graduation day at Triple Care Farm to see where the funds raised were put to work and it was voted a special and enjoyable day by all.
They arrived by helicopter under the command of Commander Adrian Capner who was on his last flight in command of the 808 Squadron.
Commodore Di Pietro shared with us why attending Graduation was so important, saying ‘’it is really essential that the graduates realise there are so many people from all walks of life interested in their wellbeing and future.’’
Encouraging others to get involved, he added, “I believe the only sin in life is wasting one's own time. So whether it is a TCF graduate working hard to get back into great shape and the good things of life, or a professional giving of themselves and their time to contribute to, and participate in something worthwhile, the loud message is to get stuck in and be a part of it.”