Lincolnshire RAF veterans were treated to a Christmas lunch hosted by personnel from RAF Cranwell, spreading joy for the air force heroes this festive season.
The occasion was fittingly named Operation Christmas, and saw 45 guests at RAF Cranwell treated to a three-course lunch followed by entertainment such as bingo and a live jazz band.
Each table of veterans was hosted by an officer currently based at RAF Cranwell, alongside two volunteers from the station.
It was supported by the RAF’s leading welfare charity, the RAF Benevolent Fund, which provided a £500 grant towards the cost of the afternoon.
Ian Whitehead, Community Development Officer, RAF Cranwell said: “It was an honour to welcome RAF veterans to our Christmas lunch at RAF Cranwell; it is one of the most popular events in our calendar and was thoroughly enjoyed by the visiting veterans and our volunteer personnel.
“The support of the RAF Benevolent Fund is greatly appreciated and enables us to not only thank but also show our support to veterans within our community.”
77-year-old Bob Richards was one veteran who enjoyed the lunch. Bob lives in Scredington near Sleaford, and served in the RAF for 28 years as an aircraft engine fitter before later commissioning.
He said: “It was just fantastic to connect and meet so many RAF veterans like myself. I was also able to reconnect with those that I had met earlier this year at the Fund’s Lincolnshire RAF Veterans Community Day but also hear and chat with new ex RAF colleagues.
“It really is just like seeing old friends again. The support and kindness that I have received from people at the RAF Benevolent Fund has inspired me personally to get involved with a number of community groups which I thoroughly enjoy and look forward to.”
The RAF Benevolent Fund provides financial, emotional and practical assistance to help people live with dignity and independence, and in 2020 alone, it spent £424,000 supporting 254 Lincolnshire-based veterans.