THE BLOG

With Our Unending Gratitude for the Few

14/09/2015 17:40 BST | Updated 14/09/2016 10:12 BST

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As the nation commemorates the 75th anniversary of the Battle of Britain this week and we honour those RAF veterans who, as Churchill said, "cast a glittering shield" to protect Great Britain, the RAF Benevolent Fund and its generous supporters worldwide have rallied in support the RAF family.

This past Sunday, the RAF Benevolent Fund held its inaugural Great British Sunday Lunch, encouraging people to gather with family and friends at the dining table, local pub, or around a picnic rug for a meal, raising a glass to the Few and vital funds for the charity. We were overwhelmed with support, with lunches held as far away as New Zealand, Saudi Arabia, and America, and throughout the UK. Our brilliant supporters held some truly inspiring lunches - from a street party in Buckinghamshire to a 95th birthday tea - and we thank them one and all for their efforts.

I also had the immense pleasure of joining with more than 50 cyclists as we pedalled from Paris to London to raise more than £50,000 for the charity. We celebrated a true icon of British engineering - the Spitfire - by riding another feat of British ingenuity - the Brompton bicycle. Four days of hard graft took us from the heart of France to Buckingham Palace, a journey that took enemy aircraft less than an hour in 1940. Several of my fellow riders rode in tribute to their grandfathers or great-grandfathers who had served in the Battle of Britain and it was a joy to both learn their stories and see the esteem in which they are still held, so many years later.

The 15th of September is Battle of Britain Day, when we remember the brave service of the pilots, ground crew, and WAAFs who worked together tirelessly to defend our country. The RAF Benevolent Fund has collected some of their incredible stories, photos, and videos on our website so that we may all remember those brave men and women to whom we continue to owe so much.

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And as we recall those fateful days 75 years ago, when the battle for Britain's survival played out in the summer skies overhead, I hope you will join with me and the RAF Benevolent Fund in expressing your thanks to The Few through our 'Message in the Sky' app. It is our way of thanking all those who served. For, as Winston Churchill said, "Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few."