Menu Donate Request our help

Helpline: 0300 102 1919

The women who have inspired us

Staff at the RAF Benevolent Fund have been sharing stories of the women who have inspired them on International Women's Day. In this special blog, three of them talk about the women who have made an impact in their lives...

Heather Kemp and Mary Ellis

Regional Fundraiser Heather Kemp works in the south of England, supporting our fantastic donors and fundraisers. Former Air Transport Auxiliary pilot Mary Ellis, who sadly passed away last year.

"Mary and women of her ilk inspired me as not only were they aviation pioneers, they were way ahead of their time. This was an era when most women stayed at home doing mundane housework and looking after children. Very few ventured into the workplace and certainly not to take on this most ambitious role of piloting aircraft all over the country, in what must have been at times, dangerous conditions.

"She proved that women could achieve the same accolades as men and that anything is/was possible. It must have taken great determination, grit and indeed courage to achieve what she did in what was very much a man's world.

"A truly courageous and inspiring woman of her generation who proved that if you put your mind to it, you could become anything you aspired to be.

"RIP, blue skies, Mary."

Being inspired by Georgia O'Keefe

As an Individual Grants Executive Cath Moffat helps meet the needs of our beneficiaries by working to ensure they get the financial help they need. For her abstract American artist Georgia O'Keefe is a woman to look up to.

A pioneer for women within the creative arts and one of the first American artists to practice pure abstraction and her work is uniquely her own style. She refused to join the feminist art movement or cooperate with all women projects as she wanted to be considered as an artist.

She continued to create works throughout her life and overcame both physical and mental health disabilities and when she lost much of her eyesight to macular degeneration in the early 70s she continued to work in charcoal and pencil until 1984 and died aged 98 in 1986.

In 2014, 28 years after her death one of her paintings sold for $44.4 million and remains the highest price paid for a painting by a woman.

Cath said: "I'm inspired by her independent spirit and her desire to be recognised within her chosen field regardless of gender and her energy and determination in to continue creating works despite ill health."

Being inspired by a friend

Kay Beever

Catherine Argent works as the Deputy Manager of the RAF Benevolent Fund’s respite and care centre Princess Marina House. She has chosen friend and colleague Kay Beever.

She said: "At some point in your life, you meet someone who inspires you to become the woman you are. You wonder how you can ever be as wonderful as them.

"For me, this person is Kay Beever. She is an incredible woman who accomplished so much, raised a family, worked full-time, gives her time unconditionally, always looks amazing, shares inspiring quotes, is a great friend and is an inspiration to us all. Her latest inspirational quote: 'Don't ever save anything for a special occasion. Being alive is the special occasion' led me to giving in to my husband's wish for a new car – (we were supposed to be waiting until the end of the year!)"

Related articles:

Sign up to receive the RAFBF e-newsletter