A Honiton woman helped by the RAF Benevolent Fund when her pilot father was killed in a flying accident has joined celebrations to mark the charity’s 100th birthday.
Natasha Haward, aged 25, was just four years old when her father, RAF pilot Group Captain David Haward, died in 1998.
The RAF Benevolent Fund brought together 10 generations of beneficiaries for a one-off photoshoot to mark 100 years of the charity.
The RAF Benevolent Fund helped Natasha’s family during their moment of need.
Now, 20 years on from the accident, it has helped Natasha with an education grant towards her studies at drama school in London.
She said: “I recently graduated from drama school, something that wouldn’t have been possible without the fund’s support.
“It’s wonderful to still feel like part of the RAF family and to be involved in such a special celebration for the RAF Benevolent Fund’s 100th birthday.”
The RAF Benevolent Fund celebrated its 100th birthday by hosting afternoon tea at the RAF Club followed by a reception at St James’s Palace led by the charity’s President, the Duke of Kent.
To mark its centenary, the RAF Benevolent Fund has launched a campaign calling on the public to Join the Search. Change a Life – asking the public to help identify individuals who have served in the RAF, or their partners, who 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 help.
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.”
To refer someone to the RAF Benevolent Fund, go to rafbf.org or call 0300 102 1919.