Rick Johnson and his family recently stayed at our seaside cottage Seacot House that provides a home away from home for RAF families looking for a break by the coast. In this guest blog, Rick tells us about his stay.
I've always been aware of the RAF Benevolent Fund throughout my 27 years in the RAF and have given money to collections here and there without really knowing what they do.
I'd seen an advertisement in the RAF News and a leaflet in the Hive that contained information on the two holiday homes, Seacot and Shencot, located in the seaside village of Rustington.
I incorrectly presumed that they were a welfare function for families of RAF personnel that were going through difficult or traumatic times. It was only by chance that the Hive explained that anyone could apply to stay at one of the cottages and that any application would be considered depending on availability.
I had recently been posted from RAF Brize Norton to RAF Halton and filled in the application form. I was unaware of how popular the houses were and how lucky we were in applying for a week in September that was not already taken.
A month before our planned stay, my family and I had arranged a long weekend in Italy to visit some friends and two days before we were due to come home we received the news that my wife Jo's mother had suddenly passed away. This was an extremely traumatic situation that hit very hard and after getting home it was a case of driving straight to Jo’s family home to begin her mother's funeral arrangements.
The timing of the break to Seacot was absolutely perfect and from arriving to departing we were extremely well looked after. This included the delivery of a 'get you in' tray of goodies and an invitation to Princess Marina House. The cottage is a home from home with fully furnished rooms and a fully kitted out kitchen with a TV in every room. There is an Xbox, DVD player, bikes and an endless amount of toys and games for children.
During our stay we cycled to the neighboring village of Littlehampton for fish and chips and to take our daughter Allie to the Funland theme park. We also had a day out in Brighton to spend some time on the famous pier and to have a walk around the shopping area.
We had a lovely time at Seacott House and Allie described it as a 'special house with special things' and started to cry when she had to get into the car to go home. I have to agree with what she said and we have applied again to return in 2014.
By Rick Johnson