The Royal Air Force celebrates its 96th birthday on 1 April and the Royal Air Force Benevolent Fund is leading the charge in the celebrations.
Events across the country are being held throughout the month of April to celebrate the birthday and raise funds for the RAF Benevolent Fund, the RAF’s leading welfare charity, supporting serving and former RAF personnel and their families.
Mike Neville, Director of Fundraising at the RAF Benevolent Fund said: "RAF96 offers people an opportunity to say 'thank you' to the fine men and women of the Royal Air Force who sacrifice so much while serving their country.
"The idea behind the campaign is to put the fun back into fundraising, and we're delighted to have had such a great response. We've got veterans doing sponsored walks, a team of RAF personnel cycling across the Italian countryside, parties and cake sales galore and we even have a company making a special ice cream."
Some of the events taking place include:
- Mini ‘MaRAFons’ are being held across the country – the London Marathon isn’t for everyone, so instead, elderly, injured and disabled RAF veterans and their families, friends and supporters, including Sir Terry Wogan, are walking, wheeling or running their own distances – totals will be added up to make one total distance.
- Special birthday parties and dinners at RAF bases across the UK, from Mums and Tots Groups to special themed dishes in all of the different RAF stations.
- The Garden Centre Group has created packets of red, white, and blue sweet peas and cornflowers – so individuals can create their own RAF-themed flower displays. These are on sale across the country and Air Cadets will be in the Garden Centres helping to pack bags
- A team of RAF personnel from RAF High Wycombe are embarking on a 200+ km cycle challenge through the Tuscan countryside.
- Veterans at the Benevolent Fund’s respite house will be sporting their finery at an Easter bonnet competition.
- One local company in Scotland is even creating a special bespoke ice cream which will be on sale.
Mike Neville continued: "Few people realise the extent of the work the RAF Benevolent Fund does. Each year we spend over £20 million supporting just short of 70,000 members of the RAF family, which includes serving and former RAF personnel and their families. Without the funds raised by our supporters, up and down the country, we simply could not deliver the wide range of services and support we do."
The birthday celebrations continue throughout April, giving people plenty of time to organise their parties and challenges. For more information or to donate, visit: www.rafbf.org/RAF96 or watch http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o1FfRKIKIzs.