Representing RAFA in Huddersfield for 78 years.

The Royal Air Forces Association (RAFA) is a forward looking organisation and a registered charity – with 65,000 members worldwide – providing friendship with welfare and wellbeing support for serving and veteran RAF personnel and their dependants.

Our RAFA branch here in Huddersfield is a particularly close knit group of veterans, members and friends who receive great satisfaction from the wide ranging way in which we go about achieving the association’s welfare and fundraising objectives.  Comradeship is the key to all our successful activities.

Probably the best way to describe our current activities is to repeat the Annual Trustees Report submitted at our Branch AGM in March 2024:

2023 was a busy, at times frenetic, year for the RAFA Huddersfield Branch.  The branch was engaged throughout the year, particularly during the summer months where truly remarkable results were achieved.  In addition to its traditional fundraising efforts, 2023 was especially significant for the branch in its role as a joint beneficiary of the Kirklees Mayor’s Charity Appeal. 

The Mayor’s Charity connection – running during the term of office of branch friend Cllr Cahal Burke from May 23 to May 24 – assisted greatly in the raising the level of branch recognition in Huddersfield and further afield.  The branch was featured regularly in the reported promotion of the Mayor’s Charity Appeal, together with that of our beneficiary partner, the Calderdale & Huddersfield NHS Trust Charity.

Two branch-initiated events in aid of Mayor’s Charity stood out during 2023 – a 24-hour National 3 Peaks Challenge completed by Branch Membership Secretary Nathan Mayer and his team from Tuesday 20 June to Wednesday 21 June, and a concert with the Band of the RAF College at Huddersfield Town Hall on Friday 1 December.  The proceeds from these will be credited back into branch funds when the Mayor’s Charity Appeal is completed and its contents divided amongst the beneficiaries mid-2024.  It is already obvious that branch fundraising will then be richer by several thousand pounds from these and other joint efforts.

The branch’s involvement in Mayor’s Charity activities did not diminish its usual Wings Appeal activities, however.  As a result of street collections, market stalls, and other initiatives, the branch was proud to record a donation of £4,869.15 to RAFA Fundraising in 2023.  In this, the assistance provided regularly by the cadets and leaders of 59 Sqn (Huddersfield) RAFAC deserves high praise.

2023 saw the branch utilising a greater part of the £10,000 legacy received from the estate of David Armitage in the form of a business plan.  Throughout the year budgeted amounts from the plan were used to finance expenditure for branch computer equipment, corporate clothing, display items, as well as funding a press campaign to target veterans, promoting their wellbeing and camaraderie, and providing permitted educational and training equipment to 59 Sqn (Huddersfield) RAFAC.  The benefits of these initiatives are already being realised in greater recognition of the branch and its activities, enhanced fundraising, and improved provision of branch welfare and wellbeing services for veterans and their dependants.

At the Annual General Meeting in March the makeup of the branch committee was strengthened by the election of two additional officers.  At the same time, it was proposed and accepted that the term of office for these now eleven elected committee members be extended to three years.   The next general election of committee members will take place at the branch’s AGM in 2026.

The number of branch members remained around 180, where any slight gains from new membership were counteracted by some branch-registered serving members cancelling their subscriptions over the year.  However, the total membership figure stays generally stable at this level.

A highlight of the branch’s 2023 calendar was members’ participation in the RAFA Annual Conference in Birmingham in October.  Four committee officers attended to participate in all events, including witnessing the presentation of a National Presidential Award by RAFA President Air Marshal Sir Baz North to the branch’s Hon Welfare Officer Anne Mellor for her outstanding record of services to fundraising and welfare.

During the year several branch members took advantage of RAFA training offered, both face-to-face and online, in topics such as fundraising, navigating dementia and mental health wellbeing.  This preparation will serve to grow the support the branch offers to the Association and its RAF Family clients.  2023 saw encouragingly increasing numbers of veterans and dependants being assisted directly through branch welfare and wellbeing actions.  The branch works to maintain this progress in 2024 and beyond.

We like to think that, although our merry bunch is relatively small in number, we certainly punch above our weight!

We are delighted to welcome volunteers to help us in our fundraising or welfare work at any time.  If you see us out collecting, just come up and talk to us.  Alternatively, contact us by email, text or telephone, as listed below.

We hope that, as you read further through the links on our website, you will be interested in perhaps joining us.  In the 78 years that our branch has been operating, we have been very lucky in having people who have found great satisfaction in giving freely of their time and talents in supporting the welfare of the RAF family.

We are always pleased to accept new members in our branch, particularly former airmen, airwomen (now all called ‘aviators’) and their dependants. However, please remember that you don’t have to have served in the RAF to participate fully in our activities.  As long as you share our aims and values, we would be delighted to welcome you as an associate member.  Associate members are highly appreciated in our branch, being central to all our activities.

For further information about membership and how you can play a part in our undertakings, please email us at [email protected] or call or text us on 07369 231172.

For general information, click on the following links:  Become a Member or Get involved.

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