Each year the Royal Air Force Benevolent Fund spends millions to help over 60,000 members of the RAF family; a feat which wouldn't be possible without the help of thousands of supporters. In appreciation, the RAF Benevolent Fund paused yesterday evening to thank its stand-out donors and volunteers at an awards ceremony held at the Royal Institute of British Architects in London and sponsored by Lockheed Martin UK.
The recipients were joined at the dinner by Air Chief Marshal Sir Andrew Pulford.
This is the second year that the RAF Benevolent Fund has recognised the outstanding contributions made by a few of the dedicated individuals, stations, and corporate partners who support the charity each year.
The recipients ranged from a retired RAF veteran who volunteers with SSAFA and an IT consulting firm that developed a Spitfire augmented reality app to the RAF Rugby Union Spitfires 7s and Station of the Year RAF Brize Norton.
All 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: "The RAF Benevolent Fund simply could not do the work that it does without the unfailing generosity of its supporters and fundraisers.
"We are so appreciative of the efforts of our thousands of volunteers across Britain and it was difficult to select just eight recipients for the awards presented this evening. We are truly indebted to them for their tremendous donations and effort on behalf of the charity."
The winners were:
- Squadron Leader (Retd) Derek Tilford, Vice President of SSAFA Solihull, won the Welfare Caseworker of the Year Award. For more than 20 years, Derek has met with potential recipients, identified their needs for assistance, and prepared reports via SSAFA to provide the RAF Benevolent Fund with the information to needed to provide support.
- Tom Cavalot won the Airplay Youth Worker of the Year Award. Airplay provides a structured programme of activities and support to the children and young people living on or near Stations, and in three years Tom grew the RAF Cosford Airplay youth programme from only a few young people attending to a membership of over 140 young people aged 8-18. The Youth Centre opens four times a week offering social and leisure activities as well as accredited programmes, residential opportunities and trips.
- RAF Spitfires Rugby 7s Team received an award for Best Cause-Related Marketing. The Spitfires have raised more than £30,000 for the RAF Benevolent Fund by selling replica jerseys and donating a portion of the profit. In 2013 they cycled over 500 miles from Glasgow to London, raising £10,000 for the RAF Benevolent Fund and other charities.
- The award for Most Innovative Support - Corporate Fundraising went to Bronze Software Labs for their Spitfire augmented reality app. Users can explore and interact with the high detail 3D model of a Spitfire, rotate the plane 360 degrees, start the engine, and fire machine guns. A portion of the profits from the sale of the app on iTunes are donated to the RAF Benevolent Fund.
- The award for Outstanding Corporate Social Responsibility - Corporate Fundraising went to Prolinx Ltd. This is the second year in a row Prolinx has received an award for their ongoing support, having donated more than £300,000 to the RAF Benevolent Fund since 2010.
- Air Training Corps 282 East Ham Squadron scooped the award for Squadron of the Year. The air cadets of 282 Squadron have generously donated their time and energy to help the RAF Benevolent Fund at a number of events over recent years, including the unveiling of Bomber Command Memorial in Green Park by the Queen in 2012.
- The Volunteer Fundraising Team of the Year award went to Team RAFBF Marham. This small but dedicated team of supporters raised more than £5,000 within eighteen months of forming.
- The RAF Station of the Year Award was presented to RAF Brize Norton. More than £60,000 was raised for the RAF Benevolent Fund in 2013 through a variety of activities, ranging from bucket collections and cake sales to selling limited edition prints of the Hercules C-130K aircraft and an attempt at rowing across the Atlantic Ocean.