Cheese Drop for Dutch Day Celebrations at Sussexdown

16th June 2010

Guests, residents and staff watch the cheese drop. The minature cheese dropped with parachutes.

Dame Vera Lynn joined residents of Sussexdown, Care South directors and the Royal Air Forces Association (RAFA) Amsterdam branch to celebrate their 39th annual Cheese Drop at Dutch Day, an event commemorating the RAF’s ‘Operation Manna’ at the close of the Second World War.

During 25th April to 5th May 1945, Lancaster aircraft from several RAF Squadrons dropped 11,000 tons of food aid over areas of North West Holland cut off by the Nazi invasion, thereby saving the people of this area from starvation.

A former RAFA care home, now open to RAFA members, Sussexdown was taken over by Care South three years ago and as Susan Willoughby, Care South Chief Executive, said at this year’s Dutch Day: “Care South is delighted to host this wonderful event”.

Despite inclement weather, which caused some of the flying displays to be cancelled, the ‘Edambusters’ – as the 1077 RAFA (Amsterdam) Squadron is better known – sent over four light aircraft from its homebase Lelystad airport in the Netherlands for the event. They delighted residents and their guests with three righthand circuits over Sussexdown, dropping miniature Edam cheeses by parachute into the grounds of the home.

There had been real concerns last year that the 2010 Dutch Day could not go ahead due to both a lack of funds and also low membership numbers at the RAFA Amsterdam branch, but the day went ahead as hoped. Malcom Mason, MBE, Chairman of the RAFA Amsterdam branch and organiser of the flying display thanked Care South “for helping make this important day the success it is”, explaining: “we always look forward to this special day which means such a lot to our Branch members in Amsterdam”.