LETTER: Supporting our older veterans

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St Valentine’s Day is a day when many of us spend time with loved ones, perhaps unaware of the many people who will be thinking of loved ones who are dearly missed.

The RAF Benevolent Fund is at the heart of the RAF family and has recently launched several new initiatives aimed at helping veterans and those left behind who are lonely and isolated.

As the RAF’s leading welfare charity, we think it is important older veterans are able to enjoy an independent and dignified retirement and these new services aim to achieve that. One such project is the Individual Support Service which provides practical and emotional support to veterans.

As well as this, the Fund’s Princess Marina House is a place where veterans can enjoy a respite break on the coast among friends. People like Derek Whitaker who, after caring for his wife for many years was widowed in 2013. Derek’s wife Mary died the day before their 59th wedding anniversary, leaving him heartbroken and alone.

Princess Marina House was a place Derek had visited with Mary as a source of respite. Now in grieving for her it became a source of comfort. He returns regularly where he says he gets a warm welcome from staff and those who remember his Mary.

To find out if you could be eligible for a stay at Princess Marina House or to support the work the RAF Benevolent Fund does to help older veterans go to rafbf.org or call 0800 169 2942.

SHIRLEY STEEPLES

General manager, Princess Marina House, Seafield Road, Rustington

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