Branch No.1159
Branch Charity No.1070716

R.A.F.A. Dedication

"In friendship and in service one to and other, we are pledged to keep alive the memory of those of all nations who died in the Royal Air Force and in the Air Forces of the Commonwealth. In their
name we give ourselves to this noble cause, proudly and thankfully we will remember them."

 

Bracklesham Bay Regional Conference 21st- 23rd March 2014

Emlyn and Ken displaying our Certificates.

Emlyn Parry collecting our first ever certificate from Air Vice-Marshall "Dusty Miller" of having collected more that £10 000 for our Branch this year.

Membership Secretary, Ken Curlewis,
receiving the Certificate for winning "Most Efficient" Branch for the third year running

 
Team picture of all attending the Conference.

 

 

 

Asda Christmas Collection 2013

 
Emlyn Parry & Trevor Hayes

 
Would you buy a car from these two?

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Battle of Britain Memorial Service
1:50pm Thursday 19th September 2013 in News By Callum Ryan, Reporter Watford Observer

Former servicemen and women mustered in Abbots Langley at 11am on Sunday 19th September for the annual Battle of Britain memorial service.
Serving members of the Royal Air Force, Royal British Legion members, Air Cadets, and veterans marched from The Kings Head at Hunton Bridge and through Abbots Langley.
The march finished at St Pauls Church, Langleybury, where the group laid a wreath and took part in an hour-long memorial service.
During the morning, traffic was stopped by police so that the procession was free to walk in the roads.
Emlyn Parry, Wings Appeal Coordinator for the Abbots Langley and Kings Langley branch of the RAF Association, said: "What a splendid and significant day for our Abbots and Kings Langley Branch of the Royal Air Forces Association, the Royal British Legion and the local Royal Air Force Cadets. The weather blessed us, the turn-out was remarkable, and the service was very moving."

Picture: Abbots Langley parade marks Battle of Britain memorial service

St Paul's Church at Langleybury packed as crowd gathers to honour Battle of Britain heroes
Crowds of people filled St Paul's Church at Langleybury to honour servicemen and women who fought in the Battle of Britain.
Those present at the Hunton Bridge church included chairman of Abbots Langley Parish Council Councillor Keith Williams, members of the Royal British Legion, cadets from the Air Training Core, standard bearers, and former and current service personnel.

Click above to view further pictures.
Photography Eddie Dillon
© 2013

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Abbots Langley RAF veteran David Francis DFC, 90, to retire from air force charity

A 90-year-old war veteran is finally set to retire after "giving his life to the RAF" for more than 70 years.
The former flight lieutenant, of Kitters Green, Abbots Langley, joined the RAF in 1942 and spent four years in active service during the Second World War and a further 10 years in the Voluntary Reserves.
David Francis has since spent more than 50 years serving the community of Abbots Langley through his involvement in two major charities. From 1962 to 1982 he worked with 2(F) Squadron Watford Air Training Corp and in later years combined this role with his position with the Royal Air force Association (RAFA). He is currently the chairman of the association.
RAFA treasurer Trevor Hayes said: "All his life he has been associated with the RAF and he’s given his life to them."
In 2008 Mr Francis received the Association's National Presidential Certificate, in recognition of his tireless work for the charity.
Patricia Hayes, honorary welfare officer, said: "He is very modest. He’s always been very sociable and chatty. The family are very close and love him to bits."
Mrs Hayes added: "We presented him with a book of his lifetime achievements. The book was full of tributes from some of the cadets he had worked with at Watford 2F. They had written letters explaining that they wouldn’t be where they are today without David."
Mr Francis met his wife, Edna, in 1942 when he was working as an RAF serviceman and knocked on her door to borrow some tea. Fellow RAFA member and wings appeal coordinator, Emlyn Parry, said that Edna is 100 per cent behind him.
Mr Parry said: "They are joined at the hip and have a real 50/50 relationship. Without her support he would not be where he is today.
"David is very well known and well loved in the village. They have been so busy throughout their whole lives but they do it so unselfishly. They are both so unassuming and humble and have never looked for any praise.
In July 2008 the 2F Squadron Air Training Corps Headquarters was renamed "The David Francis Headquarters".
Mr and Mrs Francis’ daughter, Elaine, said of her parents: "They are just an amazing couple who have put so much into so many things that have helped so many people. It’s amazing that they are both 90 years old. Dad has done some wonderful things but mum has always been the strength behind him. The family are all very proud of them both."
Mr Francis is set to retire as chairman of the association in 2014.
To sum Mr Francis up, Mr Hayes added: "You have to run to keep up with him. He just doesn’t stop."
Emlyn Parry -
August 16th 2013
 

AN Abbots Langley group founded by air force veterans, including actor Peter Sellers, celebrated five decades in 2009. Remembering the group's origin, president and chairman David Francis, said: "In 1959 this branch was formed by four men in a back room of the Unicorn public house in Abbots Langley on 7th February" He added: "The first president was Peter Sellers the actor - he lived in Chipperfield and attended one function in the branch which was a dance. "Generally he, of course, had other interests. "From that we've come to the present day when the branch is healthy -we are thriving and still going strong." He said: "The Wings charity is the main part of its existence. "It is there to look after people, old or young, who might not be able to look after themselves any more."They might need a stair lift or an armchair, anything."It doesn't matter how old they are or when they served. "It's about the spirit that we had in the war and trying to keep it alive as much as possible."


RAFA Abbots & Kings Langley Branch
'Golden Tassels Award' 13th March 2009

 
 
 

  Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) - A True Story of a Lost Airman

As a Welfare Officer for the Royal Air Forces Association, I have had many requests for medical equipment, respite breaks, financial assistance and general "tea and sympathy" visits from a variety of Veterans, but I faced my ultimate challenge  in January 2010 when I met "David" an ex airman who was suffering with multiple physical problems and whose needs were many fold. David had served in the Falklands, Northern Ireland and the first Gulf war to name but a few. He served for just over 22 years, and in that time had been through some rather nasty experiences. David had retired from the Royal Air Force in 1999. He was divorced, lived alone, and had no contact with any of his family members. He had no friends living nearby.  David had almost totally withdrawn from Society and I was convinced was the author of the book " A thousand excuses to avoid going out". It became apparent to me that as well as physical problems, there may also be some psychological problems,  but, David denied that he was suffering from any form of mental trauma resulting from his RAF service. He said there had been "incidents" but the memory of them had been buried many years before. Being quite concerned about David's well being, and not liking to see what had once been a very active, intelligent and capable man slipping away into a very dark place, I sought help from Combat Stress and was advised to print off some information from the Combat Stress website and ask David to read them when he had a spare moment or two. He agreed to do this and, after a year of building trust, giving lots of emotional support and understanding, David opened up to me and admitted that he was having nightmares and flashbacks from the past and that he needed help. I think that this was a very brave step as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is not a comfortable bedfellow, it is "the invisible wound" that no-one can see, unlike a broken arm or a cut on the forehead.
David agreed that I could contact Combat Stress on his behalf and start the ball rolling to get him some treatment. He was assessed in his home by a Welfare Officer ( ex military) and then by a psychiatric nurse. Further assessments were carried out by a psychiatrist, followed by a one week residential assessment at the Combat Stress Treatment Centre at Tyrwhitt House in Leatherhead Surrey. After being diagnosed with PTSD during these assessments, David was then offered, a six week residential treatment course at Tyrwhitt House which he attended and followed to the letter with great enthusiasm. He was with other veterans who had similar experiences, but each one had his or her own problems. The symptoms of PTSD are many and varied. There can be nightmares, flashbacks, anger and resentment, depression, feelings of guilt, difficulty in forming or maintaining relationships, violence, alcohol and drug dependency, tendency to self harm, suicidal thoughts, feelings of worthlessness and inadequacy and even turning to crime. This is not a comprehensive list, there are many forms of PTSD. At Combat Stress, veterans are given group therapy sessions, one to one sessions with a psychiatrist and/ or psychologist, relaxation therapy and are generally given 100% support to ease them back in to everyday life by exorcising their demons and learning to cope with whatever life throws at them.
There is no cure for PTSD, but the veteran is taught to be in control and to cope with the dark days and troublesome symptoms. There is a 24 hour helpline available for anyone who needs to talk to someone who understands and cares.

David is now a new man since completing his course at Combat Stress. He has a totally different outlook on life, is motivated , confident and happy. He has thrown himself into charity work with the Royal Air Forces Association and is helping others like himself.  Combat Stress are always there for the Veteran and also, equally importantly, for the family and loved ones of the Veteran. There are many other success stories like David's.

The purpose of my writing this article is to encourage anyone who may be suffering from stress related symptoms, or who knows someone else who is, to speak to their GP, Welfare Worker, or directly to Combat Stress to get help. It is not a sign of weakness,  and nothing to be ashamed of, we are all human.The Armed Forces teach you to be strong and tough. It is so hard to admit to mental difficulties- even to yourself. It can take, on average,  up to 14 years for PTSD to manifest itself after an incident. With all that is going on today, there are many that will suffer, now and in the future. I urge anyone in this situation to get help. I am so pleased that David did. He is my success story and I am so proud of him. He is living again thanks to Combat Stress.
If anyone would like further information and would like to talk to me, or David, to discuss his story, please feel free to ring me on 07760 224992, in confidence.

Pat Hayes
Honorary Welfare Officer
Royal Air Forces Association
Abbots and Kings Langley Branch

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Abbots Langley RAFA group, which meets on the 2nd Thursday of every month,
for more information Telephone: 01923 262616.

The Chairman & Hon. Secretary Reports - 2009
It's been an eventful year. With celebrating the 50th birthday of the branch, attending the RAFA National Conference (which we don't do very often) and sadly losing a few members, but gaining a few more to welcome into our fold.
On a personal note, receiving my National Presidential Certificate at the Bournemouth National Conference too, well, it's all a bit too much to take in!
In September we have our annual 'Wings' collection in Asda, Kings Langley, Abbots Langley and Catherine Place. (October sees the cadets of 2F Watford Squadron collecting at Sainsbury's in North Watford). Watford railway stations are a bit out of our reach due to the lack of collectors, these stations are part of a vast area in which we are entitled to do our collecting. Please do your bit and help Geoff to do well.
With best wishes to you all for an enjoyable summer (if we get one!).
Dave Francis Chairman & President


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The Branch Committee continues to meet each month (excluding December) where I am able to report on information received in the monthly South East Area Newsletter and to mention correspondence received since the last meeting and actions taken.
At the Branch AGM, held in February 2009, all Officers were re-elected for a further twelve months.
It was a great honour to be awarded an Area Presidential Certificate, which was presented to me at our social evening on 13/3/09, when the Branch received a gold tassel to our standard as itcelebrated our RAFA 50th Anniversary.Our Branch was not represented at the Area Conference weekend this year as we preferred to attend the National Conference in Bournemouth, between 15th and 17th May 2009, to give support to our President, who was receiving a National Presidential Certificate.
Rose-Mary and I attended at RAF Cosford on Sunday 28/6/09 for the National Service (RAF) Association Sixth Reunion and Parade and will be present at the RAF Battle of Britain Memorial at Capel Le Feme Parade on Sunday 12/7/09.
Following the death this year of some of our members, and the fact that a few decided not to renew their subscriptions to us, our numbers in January 2009 dropped from 107, reported in the Summer 2008 Newsletter, to 98. Fortunately, with recruitment since the beginning of the year, our current overall number has risen to 103 with, hopefully, a further 4 or 5 more applications in the pipeline.
Rev. Nicholas Pnematicatos, from St. Peter's Church, Rickmansworth,agreed to become our new Branch Padre. He was in the RAF until last year. Rev. Jo Spreadbury, from St. Lawrence Church, Abbots Langley, had to relinquish the position due to her other heavy commitments.
Hertfordshire Region of RAFA still meets regularly and its Committee was re-elected at their AGM in February of this year.
Following the first very successful Region Lunch held last year, another successful follow up Lunch was held on 3/6/09, at which the new RAFA Secretary General was Guest of Honour. It is to be hoped that these Lunches will continue to be held annually.
Other reports in this Newsletter will, no doubt, amplify on this report.
Ken Curlewis - Hon. Secretary, Membership Sec. and Region Delegate

RAFA Abbots Langley & Kings Langley Branch
2014 Committee

RAFA  Public Relations: Contact Emlyn Parry Tel: 01923 689046 - Email: emlynparry@btinternet.com

 

RAFA Patron HM The Queen
Registered Charity Number 226686

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Email: info@rafa-abbots-kings-langley.co.uk

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