May 18th 2016

Retired judge speaks of voluntary role

Lieutenant Colonel (Retd) Robert Blomfield

Serving on the committee and taking an active part in organising a commemorative rugby match for 3,500 spectators is just one of the many events that a Northampton based volunteer has enjoyed recently.

Lieutenant Colonel (Retd) Robert Blomfield, aged 73, is the East Midlands Reserve Forces and Cadets Association (RFCA) Northamptonshire County Chairman and lists organising and attending events for military and cadet organisations, such as the annual Mobbs Memorial Rugby match and pre match dinner, as highlights of his role.

Robert, who is a retired judge, previously served in the Territorial Army for 40 years, including two operational tours in Bosnia, now also serves as the County Honorary Legal Adviser for SSAFA. He advises serving and retired members of the Armed Forces in connection with a wide range of legal issues.

Reflecting on his five years in his RFCA role, Robert explained: “On each of the last five occasions it has been held, I have been involved with organising the mobbs match, which I believe is an important event, not only because it commemorates those who fell in the World War One but also because it enables the Army to engage with employers who support members of today’s Armed Forces. In addition, it enables the Army to reach out to the wider local community”.

Robert added that this is just one of the events that he organises to engage with employers across Northamptonshire and beyond. Last year and also three years ago, he organised a formal Officers’ Mess dinner at the Clare Street Army Reserve Centre, to enable members of the Army to sit alongside employers and the heads of higher education establishments with the intention of establishing or cementing close links.

He said: “It is my belief that the best way to engage with employers is on a one to basis, and although organising these events is a lot of hard work and, at times, can be very frustrating, in my view they are thoroughly worthwhile in helping to strengthen support for members of the Armed Forces within the business community”.

As one of five county chairmen for East Midlands RFCA, Robert, on behalf of the Association, is responsible for developing and maintaining relationships with members of the Reserve Forces, the employers of reservists, community and school based cadet organisations as well as forging links with local authorities across the County.

During his time in post, often accompanying the Lord Lieutenant, he has visited cadets at annual camps, weekends and on drill nights; he has attended Armed Forces Day parades, presented cadets with awards and prizes and taken the salute at various civic events.

Robert went on to reflect that: “Having a military background undoubtedly assists with my RFCA work and in the future I intend to continue promoting the benefits of employing members of the armed services and military cadet communities”.

“It is my belief that the best way to engage with employers is on a one to basis."