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RAF Benevolent Fund - RAF fundraisers launch 66 mile Cairngorm charity challenge
Last updated April 2018

Member spotlight: RAF Benevolent Fund

As the RAF marks its centenary year, its leading welfare charity the RAF Benevolent Fund celebrates 99 years standing side by side with RAF personnel, past and present.

Supporting our brave airmen and airwomen is the core purpose of the charity, set up just a year after the RAF's foundation by the visionary Hugh Trenchard, the first Viscount of Trenchard. As the ?rst Chief of the Air Staff, Lord Trenchard recognised the need to look after the RAF family and it's something the RAF Benevolent Fund has been proud to do for almost a century.

The Fund helps beneficiaries like Duncan Slater, a sergeant in the RAF Regiment, who lost both legs in a bomb blast.

It seemed natural for Duncan to join the RAF - his father and grandfather had both served in the RAF, the latter during the Second World War. Duncan, who hails from the north of Scotland, had served for 13 years when in 2009 he was posted to Afghanistan, a tour which would change his life forever.

Duncan was on routine patrol with the RAF Regiment when an IED exploded, throwing him more than 30ft in the air and leaving virtually every bone in his body broken.

The only unbroken part was his right arm. Duncan spent five months in hospital, four months of which he had to lie flat to avoid paralysis. He eventually made the decision in 2010 to amputate both legs so he could walk without pain.

While getting used to his prosthetic limbs, Duncan needed financial help to extend his home and adapt the bathroom and the Fund was there to help.

Duncan said: "Life would be very different if the RAF Benevolent Fund wasn't there for me and my family. I can't thank them enough."

Despite his injuries Duncan has gone on to complete some incredible feats including the Marathon des Sables and cycling from Land's End to John O'Groats to raise money for the RAF Benevolent Fund and other military charities. Having benefitted himself from their support, Duncan was keen to given something back to the forces community.

The public can also be part of the RAF100 legacy by supporting the RAF100 Appeal. The RAF100 Appeal brings together the Royal Air Force, the RAF Association, the RAF Benevolent Fund, the RAF Charitable Trust, and the RAF Museum to establish a legacy that matches the vision of Viscount Trenchard.

The Appeal encourages the British public to get involved in the celebrations and help repay 'the debt we owe' and help to raise funds for the past, present and future RAF family, inspiring, honouring and supporting all who have given so much.

Chief of the Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal Sir Stephen Hillier said: "For a century the brave men and women of the RAF have served their country selflessly. The RAF's centenary is a proud moment for the service and allows us, as a nation, time to pause and reflect and to celebrate these wonderful achievements. I would urge everyone to get involved, join a fundraising event or host your own."

Appeal Chairman Simon Collins said: "The centenary year of the Royal Air Force provides a unique opportunity to commemorate the service and the sacrifice of those who have gone before. Very few British people can look back at their family history over the past 100 years and find themselves untouched by the courage, capability and achievements of the men and women who served - and continue to serve - in our Royal Air Force. The RAF100 Appeal provides an opportunity to show their appreciation and help by supporting RAF charities."

A number of leading companies have already pledged more than £2 million to the appeal, including headline sponsors Babcock, BAE Systems, Marks and Spencer and Fujitsu.

To find out more or get involved visit:

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