Northamptonshire based aerobatic display team, the Blades, held a Veterans' brunch together with their charity partner, the RAF Benevolent Fund.
With more than 50 people in attendance, 22 RAF Veterans were introduced to the Fund and its potentially life-changing support when they attended the inaugural event at Sywell Aerodrome.
Blade 1 and Team Leader, Andy Evans, a beneficiary of the RAF Benevolent Fund himself, talked passionately about how the Fund helped him and his family when his first-born daughter was diagnosed with cerebral palsy. Later in life, she needed a specially designed chair which was far outside their financial capabilities. The Fund stepped in, and now Milly, aged 18 was able to achieve four GCSEs as a result of the screen technology.
Andy Evans said: "The RAF Benevolent Fund has been doing magnificent work for 100 years. My daughter received a grant which helped her to get a state-of-the-art communication aid which gave her a voice at the age of 8. In this monumental year for the RAF Benevolent Fund, it is vitally important that the veteran’s that have slipped under the radar can be found enabling the opportunity of aid to be offered if required. Let’s get help to 100,000 people in this centenary year."
In total, the Blades have raised more than £150,000 for the Fund, including £32,000 this year.
Last year, the Fund helped more than 53,000 serving and ex-serving RAF personnel and their families, with support ranging from financial support to emotional and mental wellbeing. This year the charity wants to increase the number of beneficiaries to a staggering 100,000, and the Blades' Veterans' Brunch aimed to discover more people and spread the word about how the Fund can support them.
Air Vice-Marshal David Murray, Chief Executive of the RAF Benevolent Fund said: "Our centenary campaign is called Join the Search. Change a Life. Its message is clear. If you need support, please come forward. If you know someone else from the RAF Family who needs that support, please encourage them to contact us. It really is very simple – if an individual put on the RAF uniform when our country needed them to, we should be there for them when they need us. And the RAF Benevolent Fund will be."
The event was a resounding success, with many of the attendees leaving with not just a connection with the charity, but connections with other veterans. If you would like to find out more about the RAF Benevolent Fund, please visit www.rafbf.org or follow @rafbf.