Lincolnshire’s ties to the Royal Air Force run deep, from its role as ‘bomber county’ in the Second World War to its present incarnation as host to one of the UK’s two Typhoon bases, home of the Red Arrows and the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight, and site of RAF Coningsby, Cranwell, Digby, Scampton and Waddington.
And now, the RAF Benevolent Fund, the RAF’s leading welfare charity, is working with AB to launch a new advertising campaign to reach out to Lincolnshire veterans and serving personnel to say that help is at hand for members of the RAF family who find themselves in need of assistance. The television, radio, and print ads feature RAF veteran Thelma Berry MBE discussing how the RAF Benevolent Fund has helped her over the years.
Air Commodore Paul Hughesdon, Director of Welfare and Policy at the RAF Benevolent Fund, said: “The RAF Benevolent Fund provides support for all members of the RAF family who are in need, but too often people don’t know they can come to us. The message of our campaign is simple: If you or your partner were in the RAF and are in financial need, or you need advice and guidance, we will try to help.”
Bourne resident Robert Rimmington, 68, first heard about the RAF Benevolent Fund during his time serving as a Leading Aircraftman airframe mechanic. After moving from Scotland to be closer to his family, he turned to the charity’s Advice and Advocacy Service for help in securing his statutory benefits. The Benevolent Fund was also able to provide a grant for furniture, helping him start afresh.
“I just did not know what I was going to do because I could not afford to do anything,” said Robert. “The Fund’s help was a tremendous relief. It took a weight off my shoulders and made me feel I could get on with my new life. I was elated.”
In addition to the Advice and Advocacy Service, the RAF Benevolent Fund can help in many ways, from financial assistance with heating bills or home repairs and top up grants to provide a dignified retirement, to assistance with mobility or care costs, whether at home or in a residential or nursing home. The RAF Benevolent Fund also provides respite breaks at its seaside residence, Princess Marina House on the South coast, and can subsidise those who cannot afford the full cost.
Paul Hughesdon continued: “Too often, RAF veterans simply don’t know that help is at hand. Sometimes they think that their years in National Service weren’t enough to be eligible for consideration, that there is always someone more deserving than them, or they don’t want to trouble anyone with their problems. But we are here for all those who have served and their partners, and we hope this campaign will encourage them to reach out to us and ask for help.”
Robert Rimmington concluded: “It is a natural thing to worry about asking for help, if you are a proud person. It is a very difficult thing to ask about, but when you do they make you feel so at ease. We were not made to feel like we were begging, we were made to feel like it was a right, like I had done my bit for the country and now they were going to help me.”
The RAF Benevolent Fund are keen to hear from anyone from the RAF family who is in financial need and might need their help. For more information, please call 0800 198 2400 or visit their website at www.rafbf.org/help.