Last week, the Blades marked this year’s Battle of Britain Day by flying over former RAF sector stations that played an essential role in defending our skies during the Second World War.
In support of the Fund, the Blades’ Extra 300 aircraft travelled some 250 nautical miles, flying over nine Battle of Britain Sector Stations including Duxford, Kenley and North Weald, as well as the former Fighter Command headquarters at Bentley Priory. The flight was conducted as a tribute to the pilots, ground crew and support staff who sacrificed so much during the battle 80 years ago.
The Blades flew in close formation with some of the most iconic warbirds of the time. A Spitfire joined in the mission over Hampshire, and a Spitfire and Hurricane formed up over the Kent countryside. A Mustang and Spitfire pair also escorted the Blades back to their team base at Sywell Aerodrome, Northampton.
At the route’s midway point, the team landed at Biggin Hill Heritage Hangar, which supported this unique experience, to meet RAF veterans and guests of the RAF Benevolent Fund. The socially distanced event provided an opportunity to celebrate and commemorate the milestone anniversary, whilst raising awareness of the support available to the RAF Family.
The front seats on a passenger flight into and out of Biggin Hill were auctioned off and the proceeds were donated to the Fund.
Blade 3, Mike Ling said: “I was very keen to come back to Biggin Hill and commemorate the Battle of Britain. I had the privilege of being here for the 75th anniversary of the Battle, so to be able to do something for the 80th meant a lot.
“Personally I’m very thankful to the RAF Benevolent Fund because of the support it gave me. I needed an electric wheelchair following a mid-air collision in 2010, so I hold the Fund very close to my heart and I’m very grateful for the support they gave me. But what is very warming is to see how the Fund support veterans, including those who were a part of the Battle of Britain. Sadly there aren’t many here today, but knowing the charity has supported them over the years made today’s tribute even more fitting.
“Today has been a really good way of getting the Fund in the public eye and promoting the message that they are here for the RAF Family, and together we all need to help get veterans and their partners back on the radar.
“If there are people out there that don’t know how the Fund can support, just pick up the phone and ask. They are a very friendly bunch who will answer whatever questions you have and do whatever they can possibly can to help.”
To donate directly, please visit: www.rafbf.org/blades.