A Hampshire family are running and cycling 1,000 miles over the course of February to raise money for the RAF Benevolent Fund, the RAF’s leading welfare charity.
Corporal Matt Phillips and Flight Sergeant Fiona Phillips are both currently serving in the Royal Air Force, based at RAF Odiham where Matt is a General Technician (Mechanical) and Fiona is an RAF medic. The husband and wife are completing the challenge together with their children, Ben, nine, and six-year-old Henry.
Fiona said: “Throughout our time in the RAF we’ve seen what great work the Fund does for both serving and former personnel and their families. Our children have benefited from Airplay parks and activities and I have seen many welfare facilities refurbished with grants from the Fund. More recently I read about the charity’s support for vulnerable veterans throughout the pandemic, so we decided to get involved by fundraising.
“With Matt due to deploy soon and both of us working full time, we wanted to do something fun as a family. We asked our youngest son the biggest number he could think of and he said 1,000 – I’m glad it wasn’t any higher! The children have been keeping us motivated, and have even woken us up on several occasions in their running kit at 6.15am.”
You can sponsor the Phillips family via their fundraising page: justgiving.com/familyphillips1.
Heather Kemp, Regional Fundraiser at the RAF Benevolent Fund, said: “It’s so heart-warming to see the whole Phillips clan getting behind this fundraising challenge. As an RAF family, they have seen the impact of the Fund’s work first-hand at RAF Odiham. Through this challenge the Phillips are not only helping to raise much-needed funds, but also raising awareness of the support available to current and former members of the RAF and their families.”
In 2020 in response to the Covid-19 pandemic, the RAF Benevolent Fund introduced a 24-hour emotional support helpline and created an online mental wellbeing zone, as well as offering Headspace memberships to partners of serving personnel. The Fund has also offered a grant of £2,500 to each RAF station to provide an activity and wellbeing pack for children and young people. In addition to this, the Fund launched Check and Chat calls for the most vulnerable veterans who are lonely and isolated, expanded its Telephone Friendship Groups and delivered a box of festive goodies at Christmas.