Lincolnshire Co-operative has donated £139,400 to two charities that provide support to military personnel and veterans.
A region with a rich aviation history, Lincolnshire is home to a number of RAF bases and the International Bomber Command Memorial in Lincoln. The funds raised will go to the RAF Benevolent Fund and the Royal British Legion, which work with current and past service people who need support with various issues such as finance or housing.
The funding was presented at the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight Visitor Centre at RAF Coningsby.
Lincolnshire Co-op’s community co-ordinator, Ryan Hodson, said: “We’re delighted to have raised more than £139,400 together with our members and colleagues for the RAF Benevolent Fund and The Royal British Legion. Each charity has an equal share of the final total so they can use it to stand shoulder to shoulder with service people and change lives for the better.
“The community around us is closely linked with the armed forces and these charities do an important job caring for the health and wellbeing of service people past and present and their families.”
Around 158,000 members contributed to the fund, with a donation being made every time they used their dividend card in Lincolnshire Co-op shops. Donation boxes also helped to raise £11,700 while Salvation Army clothing banks at Lincolnshire shops brought in another £22,900.
The society’s colleagues hosted their own events throughout summer to raise money for the cause, including book sales, raffles, and sports days. To mark the Armed Forces Day in June, colleagues dressed up in 1940s attires, held base sales and organised paper plane games. These fundraising events helped to raise an additional £6,600.
Producers from the society’s Love Local range also joined in by creating their own forces-themed products, including Bastion Pale Ale by Ferry Ales Brewery in Fiskerton, Just Jane Cheese and Red Leicester Bastion in the Air from Lymn Bank Farm near Skegness, Dambuster chutney from Jenny’s Jam in Lincoln, cupcakes from Gadsby’s bakery in Southwell and spicy sun-dried tomato, chilli and garlic Red Arrow sausages from Uncle Henry’s near in Grayingham. To help the cause, 10p from each sale was added to the total, raising over £1,800.
Area director for the RAF Benevolent Fund, Mark Quinn, said: “On behalf of everyone at the RAF Benevolent Fund I am sincerely grateful to the Lincolnshire Co-op team for the truly superb support we have received this year, and the incredibly kind donation of more than £69,000.
“Wonderful contributions such as these allow us to continue providing a welfare safety net to those members of the RAF family in their time of need. As the RAF’s oldest friend we are extremely grateful for donations which allow us to support those who need it most, and stand side by side with them through life’s highs and lows.
“As RAF100 draws to a close and we look towards our own centenary in 2019, enduring relationships such as this fill me with great enthusiasm – together we can reach new audiences and help even more deserving beneficiaries.”
Regional fundraising manager for the East Royal British Legion, Jo Ticehurst, also said: “On behalf of the Royal British Legion, I just want to say a huge, massive thank you to the Lincolnshire Co-op and all of its staff and members. This is an outstanding fundraising total and we are so grateful to all whom contributed towards it.
“This Poppy Appeal, as we mark 100 years since the end of the First World War, The Royal British Legion is asking the nation to say, ‘Thank You’ to the entire First World War generation who served, sacrificed and changed our world, as well as those that serve or have served in today’s current Armed Forces.
“Here in Lincolnshire we fund much-needed community projects including Camaraderie Clubs, run by the Royal Voluntary Service Lincolnshire, which allows older veterans the opportunity to attend a weekly club in a safe, friendly and open environment, whilst it also provides voluntary roles for ex-service people as well.
“We also aid funding towards local beneficiaries that may need home adaptations through our Handy Van service and provide support with our Benefits & Money Advice Service. This is a generous donation that will help make a big difference in Lincolnshire.”