Prestigious award for Graham

January 29, 2021
 / 
Flt Lt Graham Dodds has received an MBE.

RAF Air Cadets Officer Flight Lieutenant Graham Dodds, Regional Media & Communications Officer for Scotland & Northern Ireland Region RAF Air Cadets (RAFAC), has been awarded the British Citizen Award ‘Medal of Honour’.

The national award recognises those who make an exceptional contribution to their communities. Graham is one of twenty-seven people from across the UK receiving the medal. 

He is the first ever RAFAC Officer in the UK – and also the first NI resident – to receive one. 

Since 2013, Graham has held the position of Officer Commanding of 72 Omagh Squadron Royal Air Force Cadets (RAFAC) based at St Lucia Barracks, Omagh. Graham was commissioned as an RAFAC Officer after passing the Officers and Aircrew selection centre at RAF College Cranwell and currently holds the rank of Flight Lieutenant. As well as his responsibilities as Officer Commanding of RAFAC in Counties Tyrone and Fermanagh, Graham is also the Regional Media Communications Officer for Scotland and Northern Ireland RAFAC, responsible for promoting the RAFAC throughout the region ensuring that cadet units are acknowledged for their success and hard work, as well as supporting recruitment and development. He is also a member of the Northern Ireland Wing Training Team. In addition, he is a Training Officer and Flight Commander on the national Air Cadet Leadership Course at RAF Cranwell. 

On starting his role in 2013, Graham became the driving force in obtaining new premises for the Cadets. They were previously housed in ageing prefab mobiles. Through collaborating with Army Cadets and other organisations, the cadets now have a £660K purpose built accommodation with classrooms and facilities to teach the young children. In 2018, Graham led his Squadron to win the RAF Association ‘Sir Douglas Bader’ Trophy for raising the most funds for RAFA by any Squadron in the UK. 

Graham was the recipient of the 2018 ‘Currie Sword’ for the ‘Best Commissioned Officer’ in Scotland & Northern Ireland Region, the 2019 Trophy for ‘Best Commissioned Officer’ in Northern Ireland and in 2020 was awarded a Commandant Air Cadets Commendation for Meritorious Service. These awards recognised his drive and determination in developing his unit and the notable successes they have had, as well as his personal focus on reaching out across NI and further afield to develop community relations and promote RAFAC including with the Ahmadiyya Muslim community and the Irish Assocation of Ex-Service Personnel. 

In addition to this, Graham is a Chief Inspector with the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) and previously served with the Metropolitan Police in London. Graham is a member of the Senior Leadership Team in Fermanagh and Omagh D​istrict and leads approximately 200 police officers. Graham has been a police officer for over 23 years and has received seven bravery commendations.

Promoting good citizenship is a passion of Graham’s and in an area of significant social and economic deprivation, Graham is dedicated to address the imbalance by teaching, coaching, mentoring and being a good role model to the hundreds of young people within the community and to building bridges between communities previously isolated from each other.

Speaking about his nomination, Graham said: “I am extremely honoured to be receiving such an important national award. I am earnestly grateful for the recognition received from my nominators and those who have supported my work in the community.

“My thanks go to wife, Nicola, and my sons Ethan and Alexander, as well as the staff, cadets and community members I have been honoured to work with.”

Due to COVID-19, the special awards ceremony at the House of Lords, at which Graham will formally receive his medal and a Certificate of Commendation, will take place at a later date. ​