RAF Cranwell spreads festive cheer to local veterans
Last week, personnel from RAF Cranwell celebrated the festive season by hosting a special Christmas lunch for local RAF veterans. The festive fun was supported by the RAF Benevolent Fund, the RAF's leading welfare charity, which provided a grant of £500 towards the cost of the event.
Forty-five local veterans attended RAF Cranwell for the occasion, which was fittingly named 'Operation Christmas'. Guests were treated to a three-course lunch followed by entertainment including a live jazz band and bingo. Each table of veterans hosted by an officer based at RAF Cranwell plus alongside two volunteers from the station.
Ian Whitehead, Community Development Officer, RAF Cranwell said: "It was an honour to welcome RAF veterans to our Christmas lunch at RAF Cranwell; it is one of the most popular events in our calendar and was thoroughly enjoyed by the visiting veterans and our volunteer personnel. The support of the RAF Benevolent Fund is greatly appreciated and enables us to not only thank but also show our support to veterans within our community."
One veteran who enjoyed the festive cheer was 77-year-old Bob Richards who lives in Scredington near Sleaford. Bob served in the Royal Air Force for 28 years as an Aircraft Engine Fitter before later commissioning. Bob has previously been supported by the RAF Benevolent Fund with adaptions to his property to support with the care requirements for his wife.
Bob said: "It was just fantastic to connect and meet so many RAF veterans like myself. I was also able to reconnect with those that I had met earlier this year at the Fund’s Lincolnshire RAF Veterans Community Day but also hear and chat with new ex RAF colleagues. It really is just like seeing old friends again. The support and kindness that I have received from people at the RAF Benevolent Fund has inspired me personally to get involved with a number of community groups which I thoroughly enjoy and look forward to."
The RAF Benevolent Fund supports serving RAF personnel, veterans, and their families, when they need it most. The Fund provides financial, emotional and practical assistance to help people live with the dignity and independence they deserve. In 2020 alone, it spent £424,000 supporting 254 veterans in Lincolnshire.
Pete Ashcroft, Head of Community Welfare Programmes at the RAF Benevolent Fund, said: "We know that Christmas can be a difficult time for some members of the RAF Family, particularly those who struggle with loneliness and social isolation, so we're delighted to have supported RAF Cranwell's Christmas lunch for local veterans. This seemingly small gesture reminds them that they are not forgotten and are part of a bigger RAF Family."
For more information about how the Fund can help RAF veterans and their partners or widows, please visit rafbf.org/veterans.