RAF rock band release single inspired by RAF Benevolent Fund ambassador’s story

A band that was formed by two RAF servicemen has released a new single inspired by the story of an RAF Benevolent Fund ambassador and veteran – with all proceeds going to the Fund.

Manchester-based Gallaher’s Green includes members from across the UK and comprises:

• Jon Olphert, 46, from County Antrim, Northern Ireland, (Lead Vocals and Rhythm Guitar)
• Ian Gallagher, 42, from Oldham, Greater Manchester, (Bass Guitar)
• Tommy Stretton, 38, from Todmorden, West Yorkshire, (Lead Guitar)
• Tom Leather, 24, from St Helens, Merseyside, (Drums)

Jon Olphert was a Warrant Officer in the RAF from 1997 to 2021 and served in Cyprus, Northern Ireland, Iraq and Afghanistan.

Ian Gallagher joined the RAF in 2002 and is still serving as a Sergeant. He has served in the Falkland Islands and completed seven tours, combined, of Iraq and Afghanistan. He is currently an instructor at Aviator Command Squadron, based at RAF Halton, in Buckinghamshire.

Jon and Ian met in Basra, Iraq, in 2008, where they discussed their mutual love of all things rock n’ roll. But they finally formed a band together in 2017 when, whilst at a Guns N’ Roses concert in Dublin, the pair realised that they were both without bands for the first time and decided to form Gallaher’s Green.

Their new single, called ‘Memphis’, pays tribute to Mick McConnell, an Ambassador of the RAF Benevolent Fund, the RAF’s leading welfare charity.

The RAF Benevolent Fund supported former RAF Police Dog Handler Mick after he was left with a shattered left foot following an IED explosion, while he was on patrol with his dog Memphis, in Afghanistan, in 2011.

The Fund helped Mick and his wife Lorna to buy a more suitable home in Elgin, close to family.

Mick said:

“After we phoned the RAF Benevolent Fund, life just started getting better from then on. The RAF Benevolent Fund supported us through the process of purchasing a house, which was a great relief and allowed me to place my wife in a position where she was supported from when I was having my rehab. If you’ve supported the RAF Benevolent Fund, I’d like to say a massive thank you. Your donations are helping people like myself get through the darkest times in our lives”

Jon said:

“We were so impressed with how the RAF Benevolent Fund helped our friend Mick after he had to leave the service and we wanted to do something to help by raising some money and to remind our wounded veterans that people still care about them.”

He added:

“Between the release of our charity single on Friday 7 October right up until the end of the Festival of Remembrance on Sunday 13 November, 100% of all profits raised will go to the RAF Benevolent Fund. This includes our just giving page, income from streams and downloads and sales of physical merchandise from our website www.gallahersgreen.com.”

The band has also organised a charity concert at Shure 5 Studios, Oldham on Saturday 12 November, with support from The Superlatives and Mercy Kelly, who are both playing for free. All ticket sales and merchandise sold on the night will go to the RAF Benevolent Fund.

Gallaher’s Green’s PR company, Music Remedy, is also waiving its fee for the single.

The RAF Benevolent Fund is the RAF’s leading welfare charity, providing practical, financial, and emotional support to RAF personnel, veterans, and their partners and dependants. If you know a member of the RAF Family in need, please go to rafbf.org to find out how the Fund could help.

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By @Cobseo 55 years ago

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