The Lisburn RAF Association has launched its annual Wings Appeal in the year that marks the 70th anniversary of the Royal Air Force Associations making it one of the longest enduring service charities.
The concept was born in 1929 when three officers in the Sergeants’ mess at Andover discussed the formation of an organisation dedicated to the well being of serving and ex serving RAF personnel. This was intended as a replacement for many smaller groups which had sprouted up to keep former servicemen in touch after the First World War.
In 1930 a committee was formed known as the Comrades of the Royal Air Force Association. Throughout the thirties this new group developed, establishing benevolent schemes and distributing Christmas hampers to unemployed members.
When war broke out again 1939 women became a part of the service with their own Comrades Association. The two groups merged in 1941 with a membership of almost 20,000. By 1943 with more than a million serving in the RAF, the name was changed to the Royal Air Forces Association.
Under the auspices of a National Headquarters and with regional offices branches were formed. On May 28 1926 a branch which continues to function was established in Lisburn.
A spokesperson for the local branch said: “As all our branches celebrate 70 years we continue to adapt to a changing world.
“We are devoted to helping the few remaining veterans of World War II and to those or their dependents from later conflicts in Korea, the Falklands, Iraq and Afghanistan. In this way we ensure that those who sacrificed life, limbs or sanity whilst serving their country are not forgotten. We are there when we are needed.”
They continued: “The Officers and all the members of the Lisburn branch are indebted to Councillor Margaret Tolerton, our Lady Mayor, for launching this year’s 70th anniversary appeal which commences on September 9.
“We are confident that again as in the past, Lisburn will not fail in its generosity to our most worthy cause.”
If anyone would like to act as a collector or would like to become a member of the branch you will be warmly welcomed.
All enquiries to Phil Price 92588138 or to Steve Ings 07703738958.