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Solihull volunteer honoured for service to veterans

Squadron Leader Tilford accepts his award from Mr Paul Cushen, Managing Director of Midshires Mobility GroupBack in the early days of his active duty in the RAF, Derek Tilford of Solihull, as a junior officer, was responsible for writing reports requesting assistance from service charities for the airmen under his command.

Following his retirement as a Squadron Leader more than 20 years ago, he decided to continue to help others less fortunate than himself and become a volunteer caseworker for SSAFA in 1992. 

His SSAFA case reports provide the Royal Air Force Benevolent Fund with exactly the information they require to provide assistance to members of the RAF family who are in need. 

The high quality of his work and his years of dedication were honoured by the RAF Benevolent Fund yesterday evening when Squadron Leader Tilford was presented with the Fund’s Welfare Caseworker of the Year Award, for the work he does on behalf of SSAFA, in conjunction with the RAF Benevolent Fund. 

RAF Benevolent Fund Director of Welfare and Policy, Air Commodore Paul Hughesdon, said: "Derek is widely seen by our welfare executives as the person who goes that extra mile for our beneficiaries. 

"He works tirelessly to provide full reports, which are always well balanced and thoughtful, and my welfare executives are always heartened when they see he has been involved in a case, as they know their job will be easier and our beneficiary will get the best possible outcome!" 

The RAF Benevolent Fund is the RAF's leading welfare charity, supporting serving and former personnel, their partners, and children. 

Each year the charity spends millions to help over 60,000 members of the RAF family with a range of issues, from childcare and relationship difficulties to injury, disability, and financial hardship.  

Squadron Leader Tilford said:  "The Benevolent Fund is so generous and dependable. While SSAFA  will help any person who has served in the Armed Forces and their families,  it's great when I go out and meet ex-RAF servicemen and women, knowing that their Benevolent Fund will do what it can to help them.  It's one of the most satisfying aspects of my job." 

The award was sponsored by Midshires Mobility Group and presented by Mr. Paul Cushen, Managing Director of Midshires Mobility Group, who provide the Fund with a first class service to support those in need of electrically powered wheelchairs and in-home mobility aids.

This is the second year that the RAF Benevolent Fund has recognised the outstanding contributions made by some of our dedicated individuals, stations and corporate partners who support the charity each year and every year. The awards ceremony was held at the Royal Institute of British Architects in London.            

Watch our video of Squadron Leader Derek Tilford.

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