The vital support from the Carrickfergus community for veterans of conflict has been highlighted by the Lord Lieutenant of County Antrim.
Joan Christie OBE was speaking at Carrick Royal Air Forces Association’s annual dinner in Carrickfergus Golf Club.
Mrs Christie said: “I am delighted to be here, not just in my role as the Lord Lieutenant, but also as a supporter of all military and ex-military welfare charities, particularly one as successful as the Carrickfergus Branch of the RAF Association. I truly appreciate the tremendous work your Welfare Team conducts in supporting the frail and needy.
“Our veterans are of course becoming younger with all the more recent conflicts such as Iraq and Afghanistan. Some of which have left many young men and women disabled and some have paid the ultimate price. I know the people of your area also appreciate what you do, and they demonstrate that by supporting you so generously to allow you to provide an excellent welfare service.”
In her concluding remarks Mrs Christie noted a number of significant appointments by Carrick RAFA.
“I cannot close without commenting on the splendid news that the branch has, for the first time, a lady President in Mrs Claire Pauley, and indeed a lady Vice President in Rose Corr. Well done ladies and to you men for having the good sense to elect them.”
The event was an opportunity for members to celebrate their fifth successive year as the highest collecting RAFA branch in the UK.
Wings Appeal organiser Noel Williams, said: “We worked very hard to achieve our £40,000 welfare target and it was good to ‘let our hair down’ at another splendid dinner where we celebrated our success. All members are truly supportive and we also enjoy the camaraderie our association gives us.
“Perhaps I could use this occasion to ask any ex-servicemen and women who would enjoy our regular meetings and the company they generate to call me on 07739 191958 and I will introduce them to our next available meeting. We meet on the first Tuesday of each month.”
New chairman Colin Murphy thanked his predecessor Harry Sharkey for excellent leadership over the past year. He added: “For more than 70 years the RAF Association has continued to provided a welfare and community service for serving and former members of the RAF and their families.
“The best way to do that is to generate more welfare income and the vehicle we use for that is the Wings Appeal Campaign.”