The Big Brew Up
From the 1st -7th October people up and down the country raised money for SSAFA Forces Help. On 2nd October, the Airmen’s Command Squadron and the HIVE held a cake bake and brew in aid of the charity.
The oldest national military charity, SSAFA Forces Help provides practical, emotional and financial assistance to 50,000 people every year. Most military units, including RAF Halton, have an ‘in-service committee’ which raises funds locally which can be used as grants to eligible individuals and community projects at RAF Halton. The Community Volunteers can offer practical help and befriending to those who need a little helping hand when times are tough.
Flight Sergeant Stu Aspinall, a member of the In-Service Committee at RAF Halton is an ardent supporter of the charity having experienced first hand their help during an incredibly tough period of his life. Stu said: “In late 2004 my wife was diagnosed with quite advanced and aggressive cancer. I was based at HQ Air in a very busy role. My wife had been the manager of a busy HIVE in the past and also was a SSAFA volunteer, so I was aware of the welfare mechanism available to RAF personnel, but I had never invoked its support before. When I did, the support that I received was awesome.”
He added: “It was the SSAFA social worker that assisted us the most. My wife had treatment and responded initially; however, in 2007 she passed away. At this point the HQ Air welfare team really upped their game and took care of me and my 3 young children for the next 10 months. This included a house move and counselling activities for all of us especially my 11 year old son who was profoundly traumatised by the whole event. Their support was invaluable.”
Stu’s incredibly moving story puts into focus the work that SSAFA Forces Help does. The committee at RAF Halton are as active as possible and undertake a variety of events throughout the year to raise funds. The last venture, was selling Krispy Kreme doughnuts, which raised over £500.