Inspired by the true life stories of those who served their country during the Second World War, The Navigator had its industry presentation in support of the RAF Benevolent Fund.
The emotional and powerful new musical tells the story of a Bomber Command Lancaster bomber crew, the women who shared their lives and the unbreakable bonds of friendship.
The cast, who had only been together for two weeks prior to the presentation, were rapturously applauded by a sold-out audience at the Broadway Theatre, Letchworth.
Written by Michael Vivian alongside Friend of the RAF Benevolent Fund and author Steve Darlow, with music produced by Glenn Tollett, The Navigator hopes to find the support it needs to become a full production.
With an average age of just 22 years, the young volunteer airmen of the RAF Bomber Command began operating within minutes of the start of the Second World War. Of the 125,000 aircrew who served in Bomber Command, 55,573 lost their lives, 9,838 became prisoners of war and 8,403 suffered injuries.
Also watching the performance on the night were three RAF Benevolent Fund beneficiaries and Bomber Command veterans, George Dunn DFC, Jo Lancaster DFC and Charles Clarke OBE. Support from RAF Henlow and RAF Northolt on the night through manned bucket collections, saw the RAF Benevolent Fund, the RAF's leading welfare charity, raise more than £1,000 from audience donations.
John Trampleasure, Director of Fundraising and Communications at the RAF Benevolent Fund, said: "What a truly wonderful performance. The Navigator is not just an incredibly moving story, but an incredibly important one – we must never forget the sacrifices made by those who served in Bomber Command, and those that were impacted back home.
"The RAF Benevolent Fund is incredibly proud to sustain the Bomber Command Memorial, and help veterans such as George, Jo and Clarke, who we all owe an enormous debt to. Steve and Michael should be very proud of what they have achieved, and we grateful for all of the support they have shown to the Fund. I sincerely hope the production secures the backing it needs so that a wider audience can appreciate the sacrifices made by the brave."
The RAF Benevolent Fund is proud to be the guardian of the Bomber Command Memorial in Green Park, London, which stands as a fitting tribute to the crew who lost their lives.
For more information about The Navigator and to offer your support, email firstname.lastname@example.org.