Former England Rugby player Rory Underwood was among those at Leicester’s RAF association headquarters today, as the charity made wellbeing calls to 5,000 veterans, widows and widowers as part of its national outreach campaign.
Mr Underwood, who is also an ex-RAF pilot, joined others including Grammy-nominated music conductor Anthony Inglis in Leicester today, to make calls to RAF veterans, who “gave their all for their country”.
The duo were joined by more than 150 other volunteers nationwide including pilots from the Royal Air Force Aerobatic Team, the Red Arrows and Bath rugby star and RAF weapons technician, Corporal Josh McNally.
“The campaign aims to ensure that older members of the RAF community who gave their all for their country, get the support they need and deserve,” said a spokesman for the RAF Association, which has its base in Wembley Road.
“Veterans are less likely than those without military backgrounds to seek support, so the RAF Association took this vital pro-active approach to connect with those who might need support as it marked the anniversary of the formation of the RAF on 1 April”.
It is hoped that the project will enable the RAF Association to direct thousands of RAF veterans and their dependants to its welfare support services, including the RAF Association’s Connections for Life telephone friendship service, caseworker support and Finding it Tough mental wellbeing courses.
Rory Underwood MBE, is a former RAF fast-jet pilot, who is best-known for his international rugby career. He scored a record 49 tries for England (85 caps, 1984-1996) and won seven caps for the British Lions touring Australia (1989) and New Zealand (1993). He played first class rugby at Leicester Tigers for 14 years, and was awarded the MBE in 1992 for his services to rugby.
“As a former RAF fast-jet pilot, I’m thrilled to be supporting the RAF Association’s work by making telephone calls to older veterans,” he said today.
“The people I have been speaking to gave their all for our country, they deserve to be asked, in their later years, how the charity can help them.”
Anthony Inglis, whose son is currently serving as a Chinook pilot in the RAF, added: “My family connections with the RAF define who I am today. It is therefore of enormous pleasure to me that, although I have never served, I can in some small way, contribute something back to the service my whole family adored.”
The RAF Association’s Director of Welfare and Wellbeing, Rory O’Connor, said: “Unfortunately, we know that it’s not just during times of national emergency when vulnerable members of the RAF community need our help which is why this project is so important. Sometimes a simple phone can be the difference between someone continuing to struggle alone or getting the help and support they need.”
To find out more about the cause, visit: https://rafa.org.uk/