For RAF widow Pat Macmillan, the RAF Benevolent Fund's help is the difference between enjoying her retirement or constantly worrying.
Pat explains: "I am a very proud woman and I have always paid my way but I needed help and the Fund was there when I needed it. Since I took the decision to ask for help I was met only with non-judgemental kindness.
"No-one criticised me. They could not have been kinder. Everybody I have had dealings with has been an absolute sweetheart. They have been really kind and understanding."
Pat's late husband Iain completed two years' National Service with the RAF during the 1950s working as an accountant.
Sadly Iain died on New Year's Eve in 2004 and in 2014, an unexpected bill meant Pat had nowhere to turn but the Fund and we were able to help with monthly payments.
Pat said: "The assistance I receive has literally transformed my life – it is the difference between managing financially and not. Simple as that. You can imagine, then, that it has also relieved me of so much worry.
"Being free from that worry means I can concentrate on repaying the kindness – I volunteer with Chest, Heart and Stroke Scotland as a Befriender and also in their office so I repay the deed in time as opposed to money. Before that I volunteered with Highland Hospice for 10 years. It feels good – the Fund's financial assistance to me gives me the strength to help others with their needs and combat their loneliness."
Pat, who lives in Inverness, says Iain's years with the air force were some of the happiest of his life and the ethos of hard work and travel was something which stayed with him for life.
She added: "He kept in touch with two friends who became lifelong pals. Because Iain had such a happy time doing his national service that made me say to myself I am going to ask, I am going to do it. His RAF service all seems so long ago which, of course, makes it such an amazing thing that I am now being looked after as part of his special forces family."
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