Sandra Armstrong and her husband Godfrey had been looking forward to a peaceful retirement when tragedy struck, changing their plans, and lives forever.
In 2001, Sandra's daughter, Mandy, died suddenly, aged just 21, of an undiagnosed heart condition. Sandra and Godfrey were left to bring up Mandy's two young children, who were aged just three months and three years old.
Since then, the couple have been dedicated to raising their grandchildren, Liam and Ella. When Sandra and Godfrey's home needed emergency roof repairs there was no extra money in their already stretched budget. Godfrey completed two years' National Service in the RAF in the 1950s and this service to his country meant he was eligible for support from the RAF Benevolent Fund.
"I hate to think where we would be without the Fund"
Sandra said: "The things that we have had done we could not afford to have done ourselves, with two teenagers to bring up. I hate to think where we would be without the help of the Fund."
The Fund supported the family once again in 2008 when Sandra’s mother Eunice, needed assistance. Eunice, who served in the WAAF during the Second World War, had been feeling isolated in the care home where she lived and the Fund assisted with the cost of installing a telephone line.
Sadly just a year later, the Fund was asked to help Eunice's family to meet the costs of her funeral expenses.
Sandra explained: "My mother was one of those people who thought she would never die so she didn’t leave any provision for her funeral.
"The RAF Benevolent Fund stepped in and paid the remainder of the costs. That was really helpful because at that time we really did not have any funds left."