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Parliamentarians focus on serving airmen

Parliamentarians, including Rory Stewart, Chair of the Defence Select Committee and Mark Francois, Minister of State for the Armed Forces, and serving RAF personnel on Monday attended the Royal Air Force Benevolent Fund's annual parliamentary reception in the State Rooms of the Speaker's House in Westminster.

They were joined by 27-year old Luke Wigman, who was seriously injured in Afghanistan whilst he was mentoring a team of Afghan troops.

RAF Benevolent Fund Controller, Air Marshal Chris Nickols with Penny Mordaunt MPMedically discharged last year, Luke faced the daunting prospect of finding a new career. Like many personnel leaving the Service, he was unsure of a future career path but with support from the RAF Benevolent Fund he is now working as an Emergency Care Assistant for the East Midlands Ambulance Service.

Speaking at the event Luke said: "The RAF Benevolent Fund helped me to get on to the right path to find a career outside of the Service and assisted me to get back into civilian life."

The Royal Air Force Benevolent Fund is the RAF's leading welfare charity, providing financial, practical, and emotional support to all members of the RAF family, including serving and former personnel, their partners and dependants.

This year's reception focused on how the RAF Benevolent Fund is helping serving personnel and their families, as well as those transitioning back to civilian life after Service.

Paul Hughesdon, RAF Benevolent Fund Director of Welfare and Policy, said: "It was an honour for the RAF Benevolent Fund to assist Luke after his injury and we remain committed to providing additional support to all RAF personnel who have been injured whilst serving their country, whether in mind or body.

"We also recognise that the RAF has been on active operations continually for over 20 years across the world, leading to long periods of separation for families and associated pressures on them.

"The package of measures which the Benevolent Fund has put in place over the past 10 years – funding childcare centres, youth programmes and activities, games areas and play parks for younger children, Relate counselling for those with relationship difficulties, and Citizens Advice Bureaux outreach to RAF stations – is specifically designed to reduce these pressures and is unrivalled throughout the Armed Forces."

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