We don’t think anyone, much less us, was prepared for where fundraising for the RAF Benevolent Fund could take us in one short year, but here we are with 12 months of fundraising under our belts and wow, we are just amazed!
On 8th November 2012 we held our first official event as a team in the Combined Mess at RAF Lossiemouth, with Dot Aitken, Regional Administrator from Edinburgh, joining us on the day. The idea was to start recruiting volunteers and spreading the word about our formation. We held a few of these events that year, gradually building up our list of victims (sorry supporters) who would be invaluable as the year wore on.
Pretty soon, it became clear that we were a team with ambition and drive but that we were definitely going to have a lot of fun too. The original members; Karen Cox, Zee Fletcher, Hannah Saunders and Debbie Tulip were keen to show what they were capable of so snuck in a quick Christmas Quiz and Christmas Fayre before the year was out.
January brought a visit from the RAFBF’s Head of Regional Fundraising, Rachel Huxford and Regional Fundraising Executive, Laura McLellan, all the way from London HQ. It was fantastic to be able to meet them, show them our “patch” and share our ideas with them, but also to get advise on how to take the team forward. During that visit, we were officially christened “Team RAFBF Lossiemouth” and our future was formed. We also gained a lovely addition to our team, with Bobby Keeling coming on board.
We never thought a small team from way up in the north of Scotland could make a difference and we certainly never thought anyone would notice, which was why winning the RAFBF’s Silver Hawk was such an amazing honour.
Karen, Zee, Bobby & Debbie were delighted (and just a tad excited) to head down to London to collect the award and we certainly made an experience of it. We felt like VIPs on the night and that was carried on into the next day with a tour of the most beautiful RAFBF HQ by Controller Chris Nikols and then a visit to the evocative Bomber Command Memorial with Mike Neville, Director of Strategy & Fundraising. All of this was topped off with lunch at the RAF Club with Regional Director for Scotland, Bob Kemp. How could we not feel special!
Summer came and boy what a rush, with event after event. We were soon able to set up our merchandise stall with our eyes closed and the animal hunt and coconut shy became part of our lives! We were delighted that 432 Elgin Squadron Cadets were always on hand to help us out as well as the many volunteers and supporters from RAF Lossiemouth and beyond.
There were various sponsored events organised by team members which boosted our fundraising, but also ingrained the team spirit which we are so passionate about.
As well as that, we were asked along to support local events and receive cheques on behalf of the RAFBF, which we are always very proud to do. Two such cheque presentations were the Royal British Legion Riders Branch, Scotland for £1,101 and RAF Lossiemouth Friends and Family Day for £3,000, which are both staggering amounts! Spending an evening with Her Majesty’s Royal Marine Band Scotland was a complete hardship for us, but we struggled along, all in the name of charity.
Committee meetings were a rush of things to organise, but we never forgot the most important ingredient of all – fun! We were thrilled when Pauline agreed to join us and as the team grew in strength and friendship, we were able to achieve more and more, with the well-oiled wheels of a team in harmony carrying us through the busy summer of events and into the autumn.
So here we are, a year after that first quiet event, but what did we actually achieve in that time? Well we raised a massive £7,000 as a team, sold over £1,200 worth of merchandise but, more importantly we have raised the profile of the RAFBF here at RAF Lossiemouth and increased the fundraising done locally in their name. As well as that, the Team RAFBF name has been extended and is now an example of team fundraising being rolled out across the RAF Benevolent Fund. We are proud to be the first Team RAFBF and will continue working for this amazing charity for as long as we can.
One of the things we appreciate most is the support we get from all those who volunteer for Team RAFBF Lossiemouth, in whatever way they can. We have had people baking cakes, manning stalls, selling raffle tickets, putting up tents, organising and providing transport, promoting events and just generally being absolutely wonderful and we would like to take this opportunity to say thank you to each and every one of you, you are all a vital and integral part of the fundraising that has happened for RAFBF up here.
So our first year is over and our second is underway ……………….. watch this space!