Last night the RAF Benevolent Fund held its annual Awards ceremony at the Victory Services Club in London to celebrate and honour its supporters, donors and volunteers and their remarkable contributions.
The Awards, kindly sponsored by Lockheed Martin, welcomed Air Chief Marshal Sir Andrew Pulford and Lady Pulford and were compered by famous voiceover artist Peter Dickson.
This is the fourth year that the Fund – the RAF's leading welfare charity - has recognised the outstanding efforts made by dedicated individuals, stations, and corporate partners who support the charity each year.
The recipients ranged from a team of 11 business men who travelled to the Falkland Islands to tackle a five-day 'yomp' and raised more than £200,000, through to Swiss watchmakers Breitling who created a 75 piece Limited Edition Series in tribute to the 75th anniversary of the Battle of Britain, donating 10% of the sales to the RAF Benevolent Fund. All those nominated have demonstrated tremendous commitment to helping the RAF Benevolent Fund in its mission of supporting members of the RAF family in their time of need.
Mike Neville, Director of Fundraising at the RAF Benevolent Fund, said: "Every year the RAF Benevolent Fund holds its annual Awards ceremony to honour our terrific supporters.
"This is really our chance to say thank you to all that support and fundraise for us, they are instrumental to the charity and enable us to continue the work we do of supporting the RAF family when in need. It was difficult to select just nine recipients as we are truly indebted to all of our amazing supporters."
The winners were:
- Stuart Carvell, RAFA North East caseworker, won Welfare Caseworker of the Year Award. His years of dedication and quality of work were recognised by the RAF Benevolent Fund for the work he does helping RAF veterans. Stuart uses a high degree of empathy, listening skills and good judgement when identifying the applicants’ individual needs so the Fund is able to provide the right support.
- Hayley Phillips won the Airplay Youth Worker of the Year Award. Airplay provides a structured programme of activities and support for children and young people living on or near RAF Stations. Hayley joined the Airplay scheme at RAF Brize Norton as a Station Youth Worker in October 2014. Under Hayley’s leadership the programme has expanded and has seen attendance numbers dramatically increase, with Wednesday evening sessions growing from five youths to 50.
- Breitling walked away with the Award for Cause-Related Marketing Activity of the Year. Breitling created a 75 piece Limited Edition Series, featuring its iconic Navitimer pilot’s wristwatch, in tribute to the 75th anniversary of the Battle of Britain. As well as donating 10% of the proceeds to the charity, Breitling generously pledged timepiece number 1/75 to be auctioned at the Fund’s Battle of Britain Anniversary Gala Dinner last September.
- Shepherd Neame won the Outstanding Support Award. In 2015, Shepherd Neame pledged to raise funds for the RAF Benevolent Fund as part of their commemoration of the 75th Anniversary of the Battle of Britain. The brewery branded more than two million bottles with the charity’s roundel and included a ‘text to donate’ message on the packaging. Their 25-year partnership with the Fund began when the Kent-based family brewery created Spitfire Ale to mark the 50th anniversary of the Battle of Britain.
- The award for Corporate Social Responsibility went to ISS. Throughout their partnership with the Fund, ISS, has generously given more than £40,000 through donations, events and sponsorship. In 2015 alone, the company’s gift in kind value was £15,000. Last year ISS partnered with the RAF Benevolent Fund on several projects, most notably the Battle of Britain 75th Anniversary Dinner held at RAF Northolt, with more than 400 attendees.
- 2531 (Burnham on Crouch) Detached Flight, Air Training Corps scooped the award for ATC Squadron of the Year. The air cadets of 2531 Detached Flight have generously donated their time and energy to help the RAF Benevolent Fund at a number of events over recent years. They also arranged an event to commemorate the 70th anniversary of RAF Bradwell Bay being decommissioned with funds going to the RAF Benevolent Fund.
- Wing Commander Jon Nixon won the Above & Beyond Award. In 2015 Jon, then Officer Commanding of XV (Reserve) Squadron, based at RAF Lossiemouth, rallied his colleagues in a bid to raise £15,000 for the RAF Benevolent Fund as the unit prepared to mark 100 years of service. Personally Jon pledged to raise a further £5,000 by running his first London Marathon; a challenge which resulted in more than £8,000 being raised. The Squadron also exceeded their ambitious target and generated £20,280 for the Fund, meaning their combined totals reached more than £28,000.
- The Fundraising Team of the Year Award went to the April Fools Club. Inspired by the historic route taken by the Royal Marines 45 Commando Group in 1982, 11 club members travelled to the Falkland Islands to tackle the five-day 'yomp'. The 125km trek raised more than £200,000 for the RAF Benevolent Fund.
- The RAF Station of the Year was awarded to RAF Northolt. The station's annual Families Day attracted more than 12,000 people and raised £20,000. RAF Northolt also played a huge role in the Fund’s Battle of Britain 75th Anniversary dinner held in two of Northolt's operational hangars in September. The Station also hosted a concert performed by The Central Band of the Royal Air Force which raised £2830.88.
To see a short film about each of the winners and their support for the RAF Benevolent Fund, click here.