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Horsham veteran joins RAF Benevolent Fund to celebrate its centenary

A veteran from Horsham joined the RAF Benevolent Fund to celebrate the charity’s 100th anniversary, last month. It marked the occasion by hosting an afternoon tea at the RAF Club followed by a reception at St James’s Palace hosted by the charity’s President, His Royal Highness the Duke of Kent.

The charity brought together 10 generations of beneficiaries for a one-off photoshoot, including Senior Aircraftman Dan Pelling. 39-year-old Dan’s life changed forever when a hit and run accident in 2000 left him paralysed from the chest down.

The RAF Benevolent Fund purchased a house for Dan through its Housing Trust in 2003. This allowed him to move into a specially adapted bungalow close to his family. More recently, it provided accessible kitchen units and landscaped the garden so it’s easier for him to manoeuvre in his wheelchair.

Dan said: “It’s not every day you get to invited to a 100th birthday party, so I’m proud to be have been able to be a part of this important day. You have a lot to deal with when you have a disability, but it’s reassuring to know I’ll always have the Fund’s support.”

As the charity marks its centenary, the RAF Benevolent Fund has launched a major campaign calling on the public to ‘Join the Search. Change a Life.’ The Fund is asking the public to help them find individuals who have served in the RAF, or their partners, and may now be in need. The charity believes there are up to 100,000, mainly older, members of the RAF Family in urgent need of support but are not seeking it.

Air Vice-Marshal David Murray, Chief Executive of the RAF Benevolent Fund, said: “We are incredibly proud to be the RAF’s oldest friend. Since 1919, we have helped people affected by two World Wars and all manner of other conflicts, as well as those whose lives have been turned upside down away from battle.

“But we know that we can do more. Last year, we supported over 53,000 people, but there are so many others who are eligible for our support and in need. Often, these are people who undertook National Service and, wrongly, don’t think of themselves as part of the RAF Family. But they did their bit and we all have a responsibility to ensure these people access the life-changing support that is rightfully theirs.”
Picture: Dan (fourthfrom the right) and other members of the RAF family that the Fund has supported. Photo: RAF Benevolent Fund
To refer someone to the RAF Benevolent Fund, go to rafbf.org or call 0300 102 1919.

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