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Two unlikely friends: When Stan met Henry

We all like to receive nice gifts on our birthday, but when Henry Conway turned six, he asked for something a little different.

On Sunday, Battle of Britain veteran and RAF Benevolent Fund veteran Stan Hartill welcomed six-year-old Henry Conway and his parents to his home in Bournemouth, to personally thank him for his recent donation.

The 96-year-old appears in our latest TV advert, Show Your Pride, which also features double amputee Stuart Robinson and widow Jacqui Thompson, whose husband was killed on deployment in Afghanistan.

Henry Conway meeting Stan Hartill

Whilst watching the ad at home with his parents, Leo and Elizabeth, Henry was instantly moved and said: "Daddy I think we should give them some money."

Henry, of Redditch, was due to turn six later that month and when asked by his father if he wanted to make a donation to the charity as part of his birthday present, he said 'yes' straight away.

Henry was delighted to find out he could help, so Leo went online and made the generous donation on Henry's behalf.

Henry said: "It was really fun to meet the man off the telly. He told me about the war and the Spitfires. I'd like to be a hero like Stan when I’m older."

As a special thank you to Henry, Stan invited the family to his home where the pair shared stories about school and chatted about Stan's wartime service.

Stan said: "He's a very charming little boy, he's a very intelligent little boy and it's been quite a pleasure meeting him today. I was deeply moved to hear about Henry's donation after seeing me on the TV, so to be able to thank him personally is simply wonderful!"

Stan, who joined the Royal Air Force as an airframe fitter when he was just 19 years old, was supported by the charity when he was struggling to pay the maintenance charges on his flat. The financial support meant that Stan could continue to spend his retirement in his own home. Most recently, the Fund assisted Stan with accessing benefits through our Advice and Advocacy service. Stan was able to obtain a £3,000 increase to his annual income, along with 94 weeks of backdated benefits, which resulted in one-off payment of more than £5,700.

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