Members urgently needed for Jersey’s RAF Association

THE oldest Royal Air Forces Association in the world is at risk of closing – unless it can find new members.

Vice-chairman Peter Clarke Picture: JON GUEGAN
Vice-chairman Peter Clarke Picture: JON GUEGAN

Founded in 1925, the Jersey branch of the organisation has provided care for RAF veterans for almost 100 years, but is now in need of younger participants to help with fundraising activities.

The group has raised hundreds of thousands of pounds over the years to support former and serving members of the RAF and their families. In 2012 it directed funds towards the refurbishment of four family wellbeing homes at RAF Brize Norton, and last year donated to RAFA headquarters in Leicester to assist with extra Covid care and comfort for veterans.

However, vice-chairman Peter Clarke said that although its finances were in order, Jersey’s association was running out of able-bodied members to go out for collections – and could be forced to close as a result.

He said: ‘Many of our veterans are in their 80s, 90s and some are over 100. Some of them are very frail and need our assistance, even more so now.

‘Sadly, time is not on our side and we are losing members quicker than we can recruit.

‘The branch lays on various functions for our veterans such as luncheons after the AGM, Liberation Day and Christmas. We’ve also laid on film shows and talks, and the garden party on Victoria Avenue during the Air Display. However, I think the most popular [activity] is the monthly tea parties.

‘We have also provided funds to Holiday’s for Heroes Jersey to help bring over RAF servicemen and their families for recuperative breaks in Jersey.’

Last week the branch observed its annual Wings Week, which also saw the return of the Jersey International Air Display – but Mr Clarke said the membership issues had made it ‘difficult’ to conduct its usual array of fundraising activities.

‘The branch is steeped in history but we need younger members to get involved,’ he said.

The group is calling for servicemen and women – both past and present – as well as their families and friends, to join and help continue its work.

Anyone who is interested is asked to contact the branch by email in rafajerseyci@gmail.com or by post to P O Box 170, Jersey, JE4 9RA.

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