Wednesday 23 October marked the 100th anniversary of the Royal Air Force Benevolent Fund, the RAF's leading charity and to celebrate the occasion His Royal Highness, The Duke of Kent hosted a reception at St James's Palace.
Two hundred of the Fund's supporters, beneficiaries and RAF personnel joined His Royal Highness, who is the Fund's President, and Lord Trenchard, the grandson of the charity's founder, Lord Trenchard.
Air Chief Marshal Mike Wigston, Chief of the Air Staff, said: "From the earliest days of the RAF, the RAF Benevolent Fund has stood with us, looking after our people whatever their circumstances or however they served.
"The Fund gives each of us the peace of mind that, whatever challenges life might throw our way, it will always be there for us and our loved ones. As Chief of the Air Staff, I am indebted to the Fund for everything it does for the Royal Air Force family."
Ten generations, one charity
As part of its birthday celebrations, the charity brought together 10 generations of beneficiaries for a special afternoon tea where they shared their stories with each other.
Howard Battson, 96, was the oldest beneficiary at the event. Howard was part of Bomber Command during the Second World War and completed 52 missions. Tragically, these missions included a crash which saw Howard left as the only survivor.
"Following the death of his wife of 70 years, Howard was left feeling very lonely but has recently found friendship through the Fund’s weekly telephone friendship group.
Howard said: "The RAF Benevolent Fund does so much for me and so much for others. It was brilliant to meet other beneficiaries and to hear their stories.
"However, there are so many other people who could be helped by the Fund, if only they would come forward and ask for support which really is life changing."
The Fund's CEO David Murray addresses guests
Beneficiary and Fund Ambassador Jacqui Thompson shares her story
Our CEO David Murray greets HRH The Duke of Kent
Guests enjoy the reception at St James's Palace
HRH The Duke of Kent greets our supporters
HRH The Duke of Kent greets the Fund's supporters
HRH The Duke of Kent meets our beneficiary and Fund Ambassador Bob Greig
Our guests from the RAF enjoy the event
Beneficiary Reg Lawrence cuts a cake to celebrate the Fund's centenary