Happy Valentine's Day! In the final blog of our series celebrating love in the RAF, Sarah Cotman shares how love had to be put on hold when duty called...
Lucy and I met when she was on a course at Tactical Medical Wing where I worked in 2014. Lucy was preparing to deploy on Op HERRICK and was visiting for training and we just clicked.
The downside of this was we’d only just met and she quickly left the country for nearly five months.
Thank goodness for modern communications and a bit of patience because somehow she clearly thought I was worth the wait and we managed to make it work and were able to continue our blossoming relationship when she got back.
Fast forward a couple of years and despite all the usual challenges of living at other ends of the country, and life throwing up its frequent tests, we just got better and better at supporting each other and seemed to make a great team.
Lucy asked me to marry her in 2016 and we had the most perfect day in July 2017 surrounded by so many of our friends and family. Sadly I missed our first wedding anniversary last year due to being to deployed to South Sudan; thank goodness for decent florists (and a very understanding wife)!
Neither of us have ever needed direct RAF Benevolent Fund support or assistance, however I have seen first-hand what excellent support the Fund offers. In my previous role, I assisted in the welfare support of lots of individuals across a variety of situations.
Some of them needed really specific assistance such as financial support or access to the various counselling services etc. For me as the manager in some of those situations it was just very reassuring to know there was somewhere I could signpost people to, and know they would get help.
By Sarah Cotman