Many young people are attracted to the armed services seeing the glory of the past and the prospects of a fine career in the future with an opportunity to see the World. National Service, Conscription, was ended in 1960 and from that time onward the new Professional Military began with a wholly volunteer manpower. True there were remnants of National Service personnel for some time after 1960 but volunteers, including this individual, fresh faced and wet behind both ears, were lining up at Recruitment Centres across the land, and overseas. Old timers viewed volunteers with suspicion and frank astonishment, no one ever volunteered to do anything let alone join up.
The point of this is that contemporary young men and women join the armed services to enjoy a fine life, a great career and follow their passion, working on ships at sea, working on aircraft, working with weapons, what they do not volunteer for is to die or lose a limb. The facts of life are well known in this context, just as civilians are injured at work so are service personnel, thankfully the minority in both cases. However, those people who are affected by their injuries both physical and mental do need help and the service charities are here for them.
We have aspiring young people in Durham and across the County and over the next couple of months they will be carrying out all sorts of money raising events from shaking a collecting tin for the Wings Appeal to selling Poppies, and some very inventive fundraising activities will doubtless happen too. The Air Training Corps will be involved in the Wings Appeal as will the RAFA, the Royal Air Forces Association. The RAFA was formed in 1951, to ‘raise the vital funds needed to support serving and former serving RAF personnel and their families, whenever they are in need. Whether it’s an injured airman fighting to get back onto his feet, a young child missing their parent away on overseas operations or a WWII veteran needing a shoulder to lean on, we (The RAFA) are here to help.’ There have of course been more recent campaigns; the Falklands, Iraq 1 and 2, Afghanistan for example, those who have been injured or worse in those wars also require help. The RAFA Wings Appeal is about them also because these issues are ongoing, so is the need for a safety net, no less now than in 1951.
The RAFA is a registered charity doing excellent work for service personnel past, present and future. When you pop into the local shops and see someone selling Wings Appeal stickers please, give generously. All Charities need help, former, and present, Royal Airforces personnel can join what is a great Club with many benefits and give some time to this laudable good cause. It is a darned good way of getting out of the house in the long dark nights to come and the social life is excellent. Whilst the Durham City Branch has closed its doors there are many Associations for former serving personnel to join including RAFA Branches throughout the County.
The RAFA Wings Appeal is live now. Click here for more information: https://www.rafa.org.uk/get-involved/wings-appeal/