Our Wings Appeal total this year is up on last, by almost £1,000, the final amount being £5,214.97.   This is a welcome improvement and thanks must go in large part to the great effort of all our collectors, and in particular, those who took on more than one collecting slot at the stores (in one instance, six sessions!).

As with each year, the bulk of our fundraising came from our presence at the main superstores in town and this year made up 69% of the total. We are grateful for their continuing support whether it is in allowing us to have a presence within their shops or through their community voting schemes.

But it is worth noting that 22% of our funds were raised through other sources: local businesses who had agreed to have tins and badges by their tills, fundraising carried out through the initiative of individuals, small change from home collecting boxes and some donations.

RAF Shawbury remains another great local support and the Families Day held this summer contributed a very valuable 9%. It was also immediately noticeable what a huge difference was made by having a uniformed presence in the superstores. Flight Sergeant Peter Booth, our Branch RAFALO from RAF Shawbury, accompanied several collectors at a couple of the superstores and not only vastly increased our takings but drew many more members of the public to us, people who were keen to share RAF news.

This year, through suggestions made by individuals, we were pleased to leave tins and badges at a few more local, independent businesses. Again, this is an opportunity we value since we are only too aware of how much space a collecting tin and a box of badges can take up by a till.

Although 2014 has seen an increase in our funds, we have had to work much harder to get there. We are increasingly dependent on the same small number of people to give up their time collecting at the main stores. If you can help in any way, perhaps by keeping a home collecting box in your hall throughout the year; by keeping an eye out for national businesses who ask for charity nominations (such as Nationwide, Asda, Waitrose); by holding a Brew for the Few or simply asking at a local independent shop you visit frequently whether they would take a tin and badges, it would all go to help the cause. And the cause is crucial – the support of local serving and ex-RAF personnel and their families in times of need.

Alex Madely