There was no provision for a PRO in the budget - Tony Cunnane's Autobiography

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There was no provision for a PRO in the budget

So, after a frustrating first month, I made my own rules without consulting or informing anyone! I visited all my local newspapers and regional radio and TV stations as far afield as Nottingham, Sheffield, Leeds and Hull to introduce myself in person. I was welcomed and given tours of newsrooms and studios wherever I went. It was patently obvious from many comments I received that there had never been any PR contact between the media and any part of RAF Scampton - except when, in the months before my arrival, there had been two serious flying accidents involving the Red Arrows and even then reporters had to prise information out of anyone they found willing to talk. I had to use my own car for all my visits because, I was told, "There's no budget for that sort of thing". However, I started submitting my monthly mileage claims direct to the appropriate Civil Service department at Command HQ in Gloucester - and they were always paid promptly and without question. What a good job I am honest!

Next I went to find the Information Technology Manager. IT was a new term to me at that time; it turned out that the incumbent Manager was a friendly flying instructor working in the CFS Ground School and he looked after IT as a secondary duty. He was in great demand because he held the budget for new equipment and software. He told me that he had a free hand to spend his small budget on whatever equipment he fancied but, as the new boy on the block, I could get nothing from him because no-one had made financial provision in his budget for any equipment for me. I never met him again. I had little choice but to use all my own equipment, as I had done for the very same reason throughout my three years working for the Air Training Corps.

I took one of my two home computers, together with associated bits and pieces, and installed them in my office at Scampton. The PC was state of the art in 1989 but primitive by today's standards: it had a 486 processor with 1MB of RAM and it could run only one programme at a time - this was long before Windows came on the scene. If I wanted to incorporate some data into a document or access my list of contacts, I had to shut down the computer in order to open the database (dBase III) - and then re-boot again to get back to the document.

I continued to buy and use my own IT equipment until the day I retired in 2001- but at least that meant that I always had the most up to date 'stuff'!

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