On the evening of 18th September the Royal Air Force Benevolent Fund hosted a gala banquet for some 240 guests at Hampton Court Palace. Air Chief Marshal Sir Glenn Torpy, Chief of the Air Staff, was guest of honour and was joined by Lord Trenchard (Chairman of the Royal Air Force Benevolent Fund Board of Trustees), Air Chief Marshal Sir John Cheshire and an impressive range of guests from companies including QinetiQ, BAE Systems and IBM (UK). The landmark event was a celebration of the 90th Anniversary of the RAF, and its enduring relationship with its principal welfare charity.
On arrival, guests were greeted by Cadets from the Air Training Organisation and escorted to a Champagne reception outside Fountain Court. Shortly afterwards they witnessed the Sunset Ceremony from the Queen’s Colour Squadron and then rejoined to the Great Hall for a sumptuous four-course dinner. During the meal guests were treated to a surprise performance by ‘The Three Waiters’ (the smash hit of the Sydney Olympics) and their humorous “Opera Cabaret”, followed by Speeches from Lord Trenchard, The Chief of Air Staff and the Controller of the Benevolent Fund. The evening finished off with an auction of a number of prestigious items, kindly donated by Fund supporters. These included a day with the Royal Air Force Sailing Association on their yacht ‘Red Arrow’, A Thales Simulator Experience, a six bottle case of Bordeaux and a painting by Leslie Urwin, of the Guild of Aviation Artists.
Air Chief Marshal Sir Glenn Torpy, Chief of the Air Staff said, “The Royal Air Force Benevolent Fund is an integral part of the RAF Family and this fabulous event provided a marvellous opportunity for the RAF to acknowledge publicly our partnership with the Fund and to thank them for their support to both serving and ex-serving RAF personnel and their families over a number of years. The dinner also enabled us to introduce the Royal Air Force and our role within Defence, to a variety
of organizations with whom we have had little previous engagement. We hope to have fostered their interest and support and look forward to working with them in the future.”
The Controller of the Benevolent Fund, Air Marshall Sir Robert Wright, said: “This banquet was a fitting way to celebrate the RAF’s 90th Anniversary and its enduring relationship with its charity, The Royal Air Force Benevolent Fund. It was also a welcome opportunity to acknowledge our many partnerships with other charities, service organisations and corporate supporters, all of which are vital to underpin and enable our work at the heart of the RAF family.”
The Royal Air Force Benevolent Fund has been the RAF’s principal charity for nearly 90 years. It provides financial and practical assistance to anyone who is serving, or has ever served in the RAF, and their partners and dependants too. It offers grant, care and mobility services to individuals, as well as funding large-scale projects such as RAF childcare centres, debt advice services and relationship counselling. For further information about the Fund’s work, please visit www.rafbf.org
For more information about the RAF Benevolent Fund, visit www.rafbf.org
Source: The Royal Air Force (RAF)
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