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Our trustees

Richard Daniel (Chairman)

Richard Daniel

Richard is an experienced business leader and board director with over 40 years multi-disciplined experience across the UK and internationally.

Richard joined Raytheon UK in 2001 as a programme director and member of the companies leadership team delivering complex programmes to UK and overseas customers. He was appointed to the board of Raytheon UK in 2006 and became Chief Executive and Managing Director of Raytheon UK in 2016. As CEO Richard focused on developing a clear strategy diversifying the portfolio and instigated a transformation programme focused on culture, process simplification & automation to position the organisation for the future. Whilst at Raytheon Richard was a member of the Defence Suppliers Forum Executive Group, chair of the Defence Suppliers Forum Mid-Tier group and member of the Defence Growth Partnership Steering committee.

Richard developed strong links to the RAF family throughout his time at Raytheon UK as the company provided some key capabilities to the Royal Air Force. Richard has a degree in Electronic and Electrical Engineering from UMIST, Manchester and started his career at Racal as an engineer developing his engineering skills taking on various roles delivering programmes in the UK and overseas.

Since retiring from Raytheon UK in 2020, Richard has taken on a role as non-executive director and board advisor for RLC Aerospace and also serves on the Finance Committee of the Royal Aeronautical Society.

Allyson Arnold

With over 20 years’ experience in a variety of health and social care settings, Allyson has worked alongside a variety of national and international organisations including WHO, CDC, USAID, NHS England, Public Health England and Academic Health Science Networks.

Following a career in nursing and midwifery, Allyson obtained a Masters in Development Management and started work in international development, directing health programmes in Kenya and Afghanistan.

After returning from overseas, Allyson specialised in third sector management, holding senior management roles with Cancer Research UK and the British Heart Foundation and is currently the Chief Operating Officer for the British Heart Foundation Clinical Research Collaborative.

She has been married to an RAF officer for over 20 years and has travelled extensively with the RAF, working closely with families, serving personnel and veterans. She is deeply passionate about and committed to the RAF family and is looking forward to using her lived experiences to help support the RAF Benevolent Fund continue its vital work.

Patrick Aylmer

Patrick is a Chartered Accountant, with 20 years experience of investment banking and mergers and acquisitions. He is currently Managing Director of Fox Funding, a property finance business, and was previously Investment Director of a FTSE-100 corporate.

"I was really keen to join the RAF Benevolent Fund due to its unique position in helping the whole RAF family – whether they be serving, in the reserves, retired or dependents. It's a particularly interesting time for the fund due to the changing needs of its beneficiaries."

Alison Benjamin

Alison Benjamin is a fundraising professional with 20 years' experience working in the third sector. Currently Director of Fundraising at a national youth charity, OnSide, she previously spent much of her career working at King's College London and for the NHS charities associated with the university's health partners, including Guy's & St Thomas' Charity and the Maudsley Charity.

After gaining a degree in Politics with International Studies at Warwick University, Alison spent two years in central China with the Voluntary Services Overseas. Alison's links to the Armed Forces are through her schooling and her father, who served in the Royal Navy and the Ministry of Defence.

Alison became a Trustee of the RAF Benevolent Fund in 2021 where she also sits on the Fundraising and Communications Committee.

Frances Brindle

Frances Brindle is a marketing and communications specialist who has worked across a range of sectors and industries. She was Director of Marketing and Fundraising at the British Library, where her team’s responsibilities included fundraising, marketing, and commercial revenue as well as exhibitions and events. Prior to joining the library, she was Global Marketing Director at the Financial Times.

Most recently she has launched a crowdfunding website for small charities and is currently writing a novel. She has a Masters’ degree in Virology from Oxford University.

Both of her parents were in the Royal Air Force during the Second World War, her father was in Bomber Command and her mother was an officer in the WAAF. Frances was a member of the RAF Benevolent Fund Development Group before becoming a trustee in 2014. She is currently Chair of the Fundraising and Communications Committee.

David Cheyne

David Cheyne was a lawyer with over 40-years of experience in corporate and financial transactions. He was Senior Partner of Linklaters until his retirement in 2011.

From 2011 to 2015, he was Vice Chairman of Europe, Middle East and Asia at the investment bank Moelis and Company. He also works as a consultant and is Chairman of the Board of Blackrock World Mining Investment Trust plc. He has a law degree from Trinity College, Cambridge.

He was appointed as a trustee of the RAF Benevolent Fund in 2014. He is now the Senior Independent Trustee and Chair of the Remuneration Committee.

Graeme Craig

Graeme Craig is CEO of the Omar Group, a leading UK manufacturer of residential park homes and luxury lodges.

Prior to that he ran the Beer Business at Shepherd Neame, Britain's oldest brewer, after joining them in 2006 as Sales and Marketing Director. Before this, he spent 12 years with PepsiCo across a number of commercial roles, latterly as Convenience Director.

Upon graduating from Glasgow University in History and Politics, Graeme joined the Royal Naval Reserve, serving for 12-years. Graeme became a trustee of the RAF Benevolent Fund in 2016. He is a member of the Fundraising and Communications Committee and the Remunerations Committee.

Richard Cryer

Since his retirement as Director of Finance and Estates at the University of London at the end of 2012, Richard has served in a number of non-executive roles including as treasurer/trustee of Amnesty International UK, as a governor of Worcester College of Technology, as a member of the finance committee of Mencap, as a non-executive director of Gloucestershire Care Services NHS Trust, and as treasurer/trustee of Aspire Living (a charity providing services to people in Herefordshire/Gloucestershire with learning disabilities).

He is currently a member of the audit committees of the Institution of Civil Engineers, the Biochemical Society and the Council for Licensed Conveyancers. In addition, Richard is treasurer/trustee of the Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists, the Herefordshire Wildlife Trust and the Monmouth Big Band where he plays baritone sax.

Richard was until recently treasurer/trustee of the charity Action for Children and a trustee director of the Action for Children Pension Fund.

Richard is a chartered accountant having qualified with KPMG and subsequently spent over 20 years working in the financial services sector in the City of London with a number of European insurers including AXA. Following this he worked as a director of finance in higher education for some 13 years.

"I was motivated to apply to become a trustee of the Fund as I have both seen and learnt first-hand about its highly valued work in supporting past and present members of the RAF Family by virtue of Action for Children’s partnership with the Fund in the provision of Airplay. I am greatly looking forward, as a trustee, to having the opportunity to assist the Fund in continuing with its work."

Wing Commander Sarah Davis

Wing Commander Sarah Davis is an HR professional. She served in the Royal Air Force for 21 years having enjoyed a full career in numerous personnel, welfare, instructor, and media appointments both in the UK, overseas and on Operations.

She is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Personnel Development and has an MBA and MSc in Strategic Human Resource Management. She joined the RAF Benevolent Funds Main Grains Committee in 2018 and was appointed as a trustee in 2020. She is Chair of the Main Grants Committee.

Alastair Irvine

Alastair is an Investment Director at Jupiter Fund Managers. He began his career in 1985 at stockbroker Laurie, Milbank & Co followed by over 20 years in equity research, including being a top-rated analyst and Deputy Head of Equity Research for Europe, Middle East and Africa at Merrill Lynch. Later, he was a Principal, Partner and Head of Portfolio Management at Triple Point LLP, a fund management house specialising in Venture Capital Trusts and Enterprise Investment Schemes. Among other charitable positions, he is also a Trustee of the Air Training Corps General Purposes Fund. Alastair is the Chair of the Finance Committee.

Wing Commander Marie-Noelle Orzel

Wing Commander Marie-Noelle Orzel is the Senior Nurse Advisor (Reserves) for the RAF and a Non-Executive Director of a mental health Trust. She completed her registered nurse training in the Queen Alexandra's Royal Naval Nursing Service, serving from 1979 to 1985. Her professional expertise is in accident and emergency, and children's nursing.

On leaving the Royal Navy, she worked in London and Oxford in both clinical and academic settings. She currently works in healthcare consultancy. Previously Marie-Noelle worked in a national role as an Improvement Director for NHS Improvement, supporting challenged healthcare organisations. Prior to this she worked as the CEO of North Bristol NHS Trust.

She joined the Royal Auxiliary Air Force in 1988 as an Aircraftswoman and was the first member of her squadron to be commissioned from the ranks whilst deployed in support of Operation GRANBY in 1991. She is still a serving reservist and, following deployment in 2003 in support of Operation TELIC, she was appointed Officer Commanding of 4626 Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron.

In 2013, she was appointed as the UK Vice President to the Confédération Interalliée des Officiers de Réserve. This is a NATO-related organisation that provides a forum for members to share reservist developments and discuss strategic issues underpinning the use of reservists.

She has completed a master's in advanced clinical Practice, a Post Graduate Diploma in Management and Leadership, and a Post Graduate Diploma in Education. She was awarded the Order of the British Empire (OBE) for services to the NHS and Nursing in 2005, and the Queens Volunteer Reserves Medal (QVRM) for services to the Reserve Forces in 2013, both in the Queen’s Birthday Honours lists.

She became a trustee of the RAF Benevolent Fund in 2014. She is now the Safeguarding Lead Trustee and is a member of the Welfare Committee. Marie-Noelle is the Chair of the Welfare Committee.