The RAF Association’s Carrickfergus branch has thanked local residents who helped raise £35,000 during the 2014 Wings Appeal.
The total was announced at the end of last month as the organisation prepares to mark the 75th anniversary of the Battle of Britain.
Branch president Claire Pauley said: “I am thrilled that the people who reside in all parts of our catchment area have once again supported our welfare work so generously.
“Our veterans were really well received from Whitehead through to Newtownabbey and Glengormley and as far as Ballyclare. People clearly appreciated what the veterans have given to their country.”
Wing Commander Noel Williams, Wings Appeal organiser for the area, highlighted the vital role played by RAFA in providing welfare support for veterans who served in the RAF and their families. “I would like to particularly thank the veterans, the Air Cadets and many other ordinary supporters who freely offered their assistance during the year, thereby maximising our ability to raise welfare funds,” he added.
“It was a really great team effort, with our veterans putting ‘service before self’ yet again, as indeed they did during their time in the military.”
Branch veterans were delighted to present a number of Red Arrow teddy bears as part of the ‘Name me, Claim me’ competition.
Stalls were located throughout the borough in Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Asda and the DeCourcy Centre during the autumn months.
Winners received their ‘Red Teds’ during a final fundraising bag pack at Sainsbury’s Carrickfergus branch on December 23.
The Association will be running the ‘Name me, Claim me’ competition again this September, giving residents another chance to ‘claim’ their own Red Arrow bear.
Wg Cdr Williams added: “I am staggered by the remarkable generosity of the people of Carrickfergus and its outlying towns and villages in their support for serving members and veterans of our armed forces. I would also wish to place on record my heartfelt thanks to the businesses and outlets for their willingness to support us; from Tesco in Carrickfergus, Asda in Ballyclare, Sainsbury’s in Carrickfergus, the Milestone on Middle Road and the Russell Group’s Topaz petrol station in Greenisland, the DeCourcy Centre and Eurospar in Victoria, and of course the many other smaller shops, pubs and clubs that support us throughout the year.
“Likewise the schools and churches who give generously to aid us - you all made it possible to raise £35,000 and I thank you on behalf of those who are unable to do so personally.”
Meanwhile, members are hopeful that the Battle of Britain anniversary will boost this year’s fundraising activities. “We will be celebrating the 75th anniversary of the Battle of Britain in 2015,” said branch Chairman, Colin Murphy.
“I am supremely confident that there will be tremendous support to mark that milestone and to raise even more welfare funds during the 2015 Wings Appeal campaign.”