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RAF Benevolent Fund earn a silver medal for its first ever garden at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show

RAF Cadets in garden.

Award-winning garden designer, John Everiss, helped the RAF Benevolent Fund develop their garden display, earning a Silver Award at the Show.  It features a four-meter sculpture of a young pilot looking up at the sky; a moving tribute for all those who have served and continue to serve in the RAF.  

RAF Cadets in garden with sculpture.

The garden will now be relocated to its new permanent site at London Biggin Hill Airport, where visitors can continue to sit and reflect on the service and sacrifice of all the RAF and civilian personnel.  It opens on the 15th September, falling on the anniversary of the Battle of Britain.

Sculpture on building site with workers.
The four meter sculpture is constructed from 1,200 layers of stainless steel.

Visitors were treated to a spectacular performance from the Wind Quintet of the Band of the RAF Regiment while members of the RAF family young and old also attended the garden, including several RAF Air Cadets and RAF Veterans Sybil Piper and Michael Powel.

RAF Veterans in garden.
RAF Veterans Sybil Piper and Michael Powel.
Band of the RAF with Christopher Biggins.
Famous faces visited the garden, such as Christopher Biggins with the Band of the RAF.

The RAF Benevolent Fund hopes the garden will inspire others to reflect on their personal connections with the RAF, inviting famous faces to share their poignant stories during the Show.

Joe Suggs stands by sculpture and garden.
Famous faces visited the garden, such as Joe Suggs, YouTuber and actor.

Hollywood actor, Colin McFarlane, read a diary extract written by his father Sidney, who was awarded an MBE in 2021 for serving 30-years in the Armed Forces. 

Famous faces stand by sculpture and garden.
Colin McFarlane and Shirley Ballas visited the garden.

Actress Sue Holderness performed a sentimental poem in honour of her father and uncles, who served in World War Two.

Celebrities stands by sculpture and garden.
Sue Holderness visited the garden.

TV presenter Charlene White performed a reading for her father who served in the RAF, and uncle who served is the Army.

Celebrities stands by sculpture and garden.
Charlene White visited the garden.

The garden also aims to promote the benefit gardening can have for mental health and wellbeing on the RAF workforce.  The RAF Benevolent Fund provides plots at the RAF Leeming Polytunnels, such as one plot owner, Amileigh.  She suffers with a great deal of anxiety and stress, following alopecia from a young age, and moving around as the daughter of an RAF serviceman and now as the wife of a Corporal second line engineering support, workshop supervisor.

Group in garden.
Some of the team supporting the RAF Benevolent Fund garden.

World War Two Veteran, Colin Bell, also attended.  He was awarded a Distinguished Flying Cross for completing operations as a Mosquito Bomber Pilot.  Colin joined the war effort towards the end of the conflict and carried out 50 bombing raids over Germany, including 13 over Berlin.

Former Corporal, Rob Bugden, is now an ambassador for RAF Benevolent Fund.  It has supported Rob during his recovery from a parachute accident, that left him paralysed following several broken vertebrae and a severely damaged spinal cord.  The Fund purchased a house and adapted it to fully cater to his specific needs.

Wheelchair user in garden plots.
Wheelchair para-athlete Stu Robinson with John, in the plot gardens at RAF Leeming.

Congratulations to the RAF Benevolent Fund for their success not only at the Show but in supporting mental health and opening conversations about our connections with the RAF.  You can still visit the garden at its new home at London Biggin Hill Airport, on the 15th September.

RAF Benevolent Fund