Like everyone else, disabled people need a holiday. That can be more easily said than done since they need specially adapted accommodation within normal holiday surroundings.
The aim of the Trust, the first of its kind, is to make it possible for serving and ex-RAF people and their dependents with a severe disability to take holidays in the UK and abroad on equal terms with non disabled people.
An important part of this aim is to enable families, immediate or extended, to holiday together in a suitably adapted property integrated with the rest of the community.
Why was the Trust formed?
The late Flight Lieutenant Gordon Sykes MBE, a fighter pilot who became paralysed following ejection from his aircraft, formed this charitable Trust in 1982.
He had established that, at the time, there were over 4,000 severely disabled ex-RAF people in receipt of a 100 per cent disability pensions. Many of these were confined to a wheelchair for life. Few had the confidence or the means to enjoy a holiday in morale boosting sunshine in lovely surroundings.
Some had experienced problems whilst on holiday causing sufficient frustration to destroy their will to try again. In spite of assurances, they had arrived at their costly destinations only to find that the doors were too narrow, bathrooms and toilets inaccessible, rooms too small, lifts too tight, beds too high or too low and a multitude of steps to contend with. In other words, they could not get the access they needed.
Gordon realised that the answer was to provide holidays in the sun which catered or the special needs of disabled people in locations where they could holiday alongside able-bodied families.
Membership of the Trust is open to current and former members of the RAF Regular and Reserve Forces (including the Royal Auxiliary Air Force).
Read our blogs from members of the RAF family who have enjoyed an RAF Disabled Holiday Trust holiday.