Enduring friendship and camaraderie borne out of shared experiences has bound a unique group of military veterans for more than 70 years. This week they gathered at Princess Marina House for a gala dinner.
Thousands of troops and thousands of aircraft took part in one of the largest-scale operations carried out during the Second World War, 70 years ago today. On March 24, 1945, soldiers and airmen combined to implement Operation Varsity and disrupt German defences to aid the advance of Allied ground forces. Flying Officer Bunny Mason, 91, remembers his role in the mission.
More than 75 personnel from RAF Benson took part in the Reading Half Marathon to raise funds for the RAF Benevolent Fund. In honour of the 75th anniversary of the Battle of Britain this summer, each runner was challenged to raise £75 for the charity. In a guest blog, Station Commander and Puma Force Commander, Group Captain Simon Paterson tells us more.
On Friday a service of commemoration was held at St Paul's Cathedral to mark the end of UK involvement in the conflict in Afghanistan. RAF Benevolent Fund Ambassador, Jacqui Thompson, whose husband Gary, was killed while serving with the RAF Regiment in Afghanistan was there and tells us about the day in this blog.
Margot Corbin's father, Flight Lieutenant Jimmy Corbin DFC, was the last of the 10 Battle of Britain Spitfire pilots, known as Churchill's 'The Few'. Jimmy sadly passed away in 2012 but the RAF Benevolent Fund has supported Jimmy's wife, Jeanne, who suffers from Alzheimer's. In this blog, Margot explains that she'll not only be thinking of her mum this Mother's Day but her dad too.
It was New Year unlike any other for Senior Aircraftman Adam Bruerton, who was named an MBE recipient in the New Year Honour List 2015 for his work with RAF Northolt youth. On 26 February, Adam received his MBE from Prince Charles in a ceremony at Buckingham Palace. Adam has been working with young people at the Station since 2009 and takes a leading role in its Airplay youth programme.
On 1 April 2015 a new important piece of legislation will come into force. The Care Act 2014 will change the way that community care is assessed and provided. At the RAF Benevolent Fund, we have launched a new Advice and Advocacy Service to provide members of the RAF family with advice to help them the benefits and care they’re entitled to. Charlotte Bull, our Care Services Advocacy Executive, explains more.
WWII hero and Dambuster Les Munro will be auctioning his medals and log books later this month with the proceeds from the sale going towards maintaining the Bomber Command Memorial. His awards, which include the Distinguished Service Order and the Distinguished Flying Cross, are expected to fetch between £40,000 and £50,000. In this blog, Les explains the reasons behind his decision to auction his medals.
The sky's the limit for airmen serving on one of the RAF's oldest squadrons as they prepare to mark their centenary year. Personnel at RAF Lossiemouth have pledged to raise £15,000 in celebration of the Squadron's XV moniker.
Helicopter pilot Andrew McMaster will be getting on a Brompton bike this September to take part in our exciting Brompton Bicycle Challenge from Paris to London. In this guest blog, Andrew tells us why he wanted to enter the event.
Last month we launched an appeal to raise £360,000 to build two much-needed seaside apartments for RAF families. Long tours of Afghanistan, separation and frequent moves add to the pressures of family life and many RAF families just need a few days away together to recuperate. Seaside Cottages Manager, Shirley Steeples, tells us why we urgently need to build two new apartments this year.
Air Traffic Controller Sgt Jack Elkin will be undertaking a huge challenge next month when he rows a million metres to raise money for our work. In this guest blog, Jack tells us more.
In our third Valentine's blog celebrating RAF couples, we bring you the story of Jim and Irene Vidler. Jim was a Battle of Britain veteran who sadly passed away on 10 November 2014. Jim had been married to Irene for 48 years and during that time they never spent a day apart. Jim suffered from Alzheimer's and was nursed by Irene at home during his final weeks after he contracted septicaemia. She tells us why you can never say goodbye to the love of your life.
In our second Valentine's blog celebrating RAF couples, we bring you the story of former RAF Corporal Amy Robinson and her husband Stuart. In 2013, Stuart, also a former RAF Corporal, was seriously injured in an IED explosion in Afghanistan. He was later supported by the Fund who helped Stuart to buy a specially adapted mountain trike to improve his quality of life. In this guest blog, Amy tells us about their life together including the day she first learnt that Stuart had been injured.
This week in the run up to Valentine's Day, we're celebrating RAF couples and today we start with Rebecca Scott and her RAF partner Colin. Although the couple don't normally celebrate Valentine's Day, this Valentine's is set to be different as Colin will be back from a deployment in the Falklands. In this guest blog, Rebecca tells us how she and Colin met and what their plans are for February 14th.
Last year Tom Cavalot won the hotly contested Airplay Youth Worker of the Year award at the RAFBF Awards. Tom's innovative approach to youth work has inspired and motivated RAF young people at RAF Cosford, where he is based. Tom tells us why he loves his job and what it was like to bag a top award.
For Tahir Mirza, returning to the Falkland Islands this week will bring back a flood of memories. Thirty-three years ago he helped liberate the Islands and saw firsthand the vital role the RAF played in the conflict. On 8 February, along with 10 leading businessmen, Tahir will return to the Falkland Islands to trek 120km in freezing temperatures, following the historic route taken by the Royal Marines 45 Commando Group in 1982.
Today marks 10 years since Hercules C130K flight XV179 was shot down over Iraq killing all 10 crew. In this blog Group Captain Mike Neville recalls the day.
Despite being afraid of heights, 25-year-old supporter Eren Nasib recently took to the sky to complete a skydive to raise money for our work. Eren tells us more.
2014 will be remembered as an exciting year for the RAF Scampton Airplay programme, taking its participants on a journey through time, from the World War One battlefields of France, to a World War Two-era tea dance at RAF Kirton in Lindsey and to the present day, visiting the recent poppy installation at the Tower of London and seeing a West End play.
RAF Benevolent Fund supporter Elizabeth Halls is raising funds for our charity through a special challenge. Elizabeth will be visiting various RAF airfields in a 1935 Singer Le Mans sports car. Elizabeth tells us more.
Celebrate the Royal Air Force's birthday in 2015 by raising money to support RAF personnel past and present.
RAF Benevolent Fund supporter Winnie Draper recently completed a trek to Mount Kilimanjaro to raise money for our work. Winnie tells us more in this guest blog.
Bumpy landings are a thing of the past for the youngest children at RAF Cranwell, as a new soft play area opened in the Brunei Community Centre.
We had lots of great blogs on our website in 2014. Here, we've picked five of our favourites.