Oxfordshire racehorse trainer Lawney Hill visited RAF Benson today to announce a unique partnership with the RAF Benevolent Fund.
On the day Lawney took some of her horses along to the station to meet serving RAF personnel who have an interest in racing.
The partnership will see all Lawney Hill-trained racehorses carry the RAFBF's heart roundel logo at racecourses throughout the UK. In addition, RAFBF beneficiaries and serving RAF personnel will have opportunities to visit Lawney Hill stables and enjoy days at the races.
Dean Benton, Director of Marketing and Communications for the RAF Benevolent Fund, said: "As the RAF’s leading welfare charity we do all that we can to maintain the morale of service families. We do this through our welfare support, and also by forming innovative partnerships with those sympathetic to our aims.
"The partnership with Lawney Hill, which will give serving personnel access to race days and stable visits, is a unique way in which we can create a feel good factor for our RAF family.
"The partnership also provides us with a great opportunity to raise awareness of our work among the race-going public, who we know have enormous enthusiasm for the work of the armed forces.
"We spent £3 million assisting serving RAF personnel last year – that’s on top of major support projects like our £10 million Airplay programme, providing support for young people in RAF families – and we look forward to talking more about our work with racing fans throughout the coming season."
Squadron Leader Pete Thompson, the officer in charge of the personnel management squadron at RAF Benson, praised the initiative.
He said: "The RAF Benevolent Fund has been exceptional in their support of personnel and their families at RAF Benson. Not only have we received individual grants, but also community grants to assist overall welfare for projects such as our multi-use games area and children's play parks.
"This assistance is invaluable, particularly at a time when we are so heavily committed to operations. We commend Lawney Hill Racing for their support of such a worthwhile charity and thank them on behalf of the Royal Air Force personnel and their families who will be helped by the funds raised."
Lawney Hill said: "This is a fantastic new partnership between the RAFBF and Lawney Hill Racing which has been made possible through the generosity of the Managing Director of Prolinx, Andy Weller, who has signed a three year sponsorship deal with the stable.
"Andy is a massive supporter of the RAFBF, and this marvellous gesture shows his support for the charity’s excellent work supporting serving and former RAF personnel and their families.
"I have three major air bases local to my stables, RAF Benson, RAF Brize Norton and RAF High Wycombe, and I look forward to welcoming a lot of new visitors to the yard and the races to see my horses 'flying' home."
The partnership will see its first runner at the prestigious Cheltenham Festival where Hill is hoping for a good run from horse 'Ski Sunday', who is looking to follow up his recent win at Kempton Park. In addition, during December a special RAFBF Race Day will be held at Sandown Park.