Many of our supporters have been helping us raise both our profile and donations for years. Here, Shirley McDonald, one such supporter from Fawley in Hampshire, tells us of her most recent efforts, and why the RAF Benevolent Fund is her charity of choice.
We've always been interested in the Royal Air Force because my husband John spent his National Service in the RAF Fire Brigade at Biggin Hill.
Our son Andrew joined the RAF in 1987 aged 16 and while he was serving in the Middle East for the first Gulf War, Waterside Methodist Church, of which we are all members, chose to support the troops by sending out food parcels, letters and prayers.
In 2011 Fawley Parish Council decided to celebrate Armed Forces Day with stalls, children’s rides, music and entertainment at Gang Warily Sports Centre and Park. Our Waterside Methodist Church decided to raise money for the RAF Benevolent Fund by running a stall with face painting, tombola, cake and plant sales.
We are now in our sixth year and begin the process by collecting gifts and growing plants in February. John puts the plants on sale from March in our drive and that starts to bring in money.
Mary knits us a large Airman doll that is raffled on the day by guessing his name. Jan and Val always have a big queue of children waiting for their face to be painted. Lots of friends and family come and help out on the day. There were several very heavy rain showers this year but people sheltered in the marquee listening to the rock band and came back out after it had passed.
The team worked extremely hard and we are very proud to have raised over £800 for the RAF Benevolent Fund.
The RAF Benevolent Fund are very grateful to all of our supporters, who work tirelessly throughout the year to help raise awareness about how we can help the RAF family.