Representatives from RAF Brize Norton picked up the coveted Wilkinson Sword yesterday evening after winning 'Station of the Year' at the Royal Air Force Benevolent Fund Awards for their extraordinary fundraising efforts. The sword was presented by Chief of the Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal Sir Andrew Pulford.
RAF Brize Norton raised over £60,000 in 2013 for the RAF Benevolent Fund through various fundraising activities and events, including selling limited edition prints of the Hercules C-130K aircraft before its retirement in October 2013 and participation in the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge rowing race.
RAF Benevolent Fund Controller Air Marshal Chris Nickols said: "We are very grateful to so many people at Brize Norton for their energetic and generous support of the RAF Benevolent Fund. From selling cakes and bucket collections to an attempt to row across the Atlantic Ocean, the servicemen and women at Brize Norton have really put their heart into fundraising for the Fund. Their efforts make it possible for us to carry out our mission of serving the entire RAF family when in need."
Group Captain Stephen Lushington, Station Commander, said: "No matter where our servicemen and women are stationed, the Royal Air Force Benevolent Fund is always there to help in times of need and their support at RAF Brize Norton last year was incredible.
"They spent more than half a million pounds to help our personnel and their families with services ranging from a play park and youth workers for young people; relationship and financial counselling; and 24 grants to individuals in need totalling almost £395,000. We truly appreciate their support and are honoured to reciprocate with our fundraising efforts."
RAF Brize Norton Wing Commander Graeme Gault, Officer Commanding 47 Squadron said: "We were keen to tie in the retirement of the C-130K with a chance to do some fundraising for the RAF Benevolent Fund because it was a charity that's been close to 47 Squadron’s heart for a long time, particularly as we lost an aircraft with 10 crew in Iraq back in 2005.
"The support the RAF Benevolent Fund gave to the families was tremendous, so we've had a long standing commitment to the Fund."
The RAF Benevolent Fund is the RAF's leading welfare charity, providing a range of services for serving and former RAF personnel, their partners, and families.
This is the second year that the RAF Benevolent Fund has recognised the stand-out contributions made by a few of the dedicated individuals, stations, and corporate partners who support the charity each year.
The awards ceremony was held at the Royal Institute of British Architects in London.