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“It was love at first sight”

This Valentine's Day, we'd like to take a moment to think about those RAF veterans and widows who've lost a partner later in life and now face their day-to-day lives alone. People like Margaret Peckham.

Ninety-year-old Margaret found her life drastically changed when her husband of 60 years, David, passed away in 2014. She was living alone for the first time in her life and had lost not only her husband but best friend, too.

Peckham's Wedding Day Valentines Day RAF

David joined the RAF as an apprentice aged just 16 and went on to become a Sergeant. Margaret says it was "love at first sight" when the pair met at a dance in Hastings when she was 20 years old.

In fact, Margaret confessed to her friend that very same night that she had met the man she would marry. True to her word, four months later, the couple walked down the aisle.

Margaret says: "When my husband died it was very difficult because I'd had him for so long, all my life, I'd had somebody. I moved straight from my parents' house into our marital home, so I'd never lived on my own before David passed away."

With David gone, Margaret found herself with very little social interaction or human contact with others which left her feeling lonely and isolated. However, as the widow of someone that once served, Margaret is part of the RAF family and eligible for support from the Fund.

Margaret, who lives in Worthing, is now a regular visitor at our respite home, Princess Marina House, where she uses the Lunch Club service. She has most recently joined one of the Fund's telephone friendship groups, which allows members to connect over the phone once a week, at a set time, all from the comfort of their home.

Peckham's Valentines Day RAF

"The hardest thing about living on your own after 60 years of marriage is not having anything to discuss with anyone and not being able to talk about your day when you've come to the evening and you want to chat.

"The telephone friendship groups really have changed my life. I've got something to look forward to every week. You meet so many interesting people with stories to tell.

"The future's now looking brighter."

If you know of someone who might be in need of our support, please do get in touch. For more information, please call 0300 102 1919 or visit our website at rafbf.org/help.

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