RAFA appeals for lift funds to secure future in Weston

PUBLISHED: 12:00 21 January 2020

John Denman, Charlie Hewson, Iain Norris, PR Officer Kimerly Palk-Meikie and George Yeomans.Picture: MARK ATHERTON

John Denman, Charlie Hewson, Iain Norris, PR Officer Kimerly Palk-Meikie and George Yeomans.Picture: MARK ATHERTON

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The Royal Air Forces Association (RAFA) is fundrasing for a lift for its veteran members in Weston.

John Denman MBE, Charlie Hewson BEM, Iain Norris MBE, PR Officer Kimerly Palk-Meikie and George Yeomans looking down the stairwell atrium they are planing to use for the three person lift.    Picture: MARK ATHERTONJohn Denman MBE, Charlie Hewson BEM, Iain Norris MBE, PR Officer Kimerly Palk-Meikie and George Yeomans looking down the stairwell atrium they are planing to use for the three person lift. Picture: MARK ATHERTON

RAFA is raising money to help its servicemen and ex-servicemen access upstairs rooms so they can attend social functions, which the association says will secure the club's future in town.

The vertical cabin lift RAFA hopes to install is worth £35,000 and will span across three floors at the building in Alexandra Parade.

RAFA has raised £9,600 so far, partly through its own funds and with help from the branch headquarters, in Leicester.

President of RAFA, Iain Norris, said: "Installing a lift at our base in Weston will ensure the survival of the club.

"Given our members' advancing years and diminishing mobility, many of them are simply unable to attend our social events and activities at the main clubroom, which is on the second floor of the building.

"Although we have a partial stair lift at the club, those members that are wheelchair-bound or have limited mobility struggle to walk up a small flight of stairs to the second floor and subsequent access to the third floor, where The Armed Forces Charity (SSAFA) is based.

"We have a bar downstairs and to make sure we can cater to everyone's needs, and we have to hold coffee mornings there as a result of this, the most recent one being on Wednesday."

Weston's branch has been running since 1939 and the club has had a building in the parade for the last 17 years.

Among its members are ex-servicemen, aged between 70 to 96, have been awarded a range of MBE and BEM accolades for their service to their country during WW2.

RAFA offers support and advice to members who have served in the Royal Air Forces, and to their next-of-kin, widowed spouses and partners.

The club holds events throughout the year, which tend to surround Remembrance Day commemorations.

In a letter written to businesses in the area, Iain continued: "Our only viable option is to install a vertical cabin lift system to all floors of the club and, for this to become a reality, we have launched a fundraising appeal to pay for the project."

To donate to RAFA's appeal, contact Iain Norris at iain.norris3@gmail.com





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