Chairman: Russell La Forte CBE MA BA

From 2013 to 2015, Russell (Russ) served in the Falkland Islands as Commander British Forces South Atlantic Islands, accompanied by his wife Gillian, who worked as a nurse at Stanley Hospital. Travelling and socialising widely throughout their tour, both professionally and personally, they developed a deep and abiding affections for the Islands and their wonderful people.

Throughout a long career with the RAF Regiment, he saw operational service in Northern Ireland, the Balkans, Georgia, Sierra Leone, the Middle East, Iraq and Afghanistan.  He was appointed an MBE in 1994, an honorary ADC to HM The Queen in 2007 and CBE in 2009.  Awared an honours degree in history with the Open University in 1994 and a master's degree in Defence Studies from King's College, London in 2001, he is also a graduate of both the Higher Command and Staff Course and the Royal College of Defence Studies.

Russ is married to Gillian and with four adult children, his interests include most sports, music, history, and mountaineering.  In 2002, he was decorated by the Royal Humane Society for leading the night-time rescue of three civilian climbers from the 23,000 feet summit of Aconcagua in Argentina.

After forty two years' service, Russell finally retired from the RAF in November 2020 and shortly thereafter was co-opted onto the Executive Committee, having been a member of the Falkland Islands Association since 2015.

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