Thelma Berry joined the WRAF in 1951 and served as a Radar Operator until her marriage in 1953. Thelma had a difficult childhood, losing her mother at the age of three and then being evacuated from Brighton to Halifax at the start of World War II when she was only four years old.
She spent part of her childhood after the war in care and says she found "her first family by joining the RAF".
Thelma firmly believes that: "No experience is for nothing."
She gave her five children the loving childhood she didn't have and also raised 39 foster children.
With her personal experiences as a child in care and a foster mother, she started the Norfolk Foster Carer Association and ran a 24-hour helpline to provide other foster parents with advice and support. She was awarded an MBE for her efforts.
She says: "You can make a successful life, wherever it starts."
Thelma was married to her second husband, Jack, for 38 years. She cared for him through his long illness and reached out to the RAF Benevolent Fund for advice after he died in 2010.
The RAF Benevolent Fund paid towards his funeral costs and since his death continue to provide Thelma with a monthly financial supplement, helping her to stay in her bungalow and enjoy an independent, dignified retirement.
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