Support for the bereaved community

The Chair of the RAF Widows Association, Laura Robbins, has shared the following message:

The whole RAF Community was rocked last weekend with news of the Spitfire Crash at RAF Coningsby.

Our thoughts are with the family of Squadron Leader Mark Long and his friends and colleagues at RAF Coningsby.

Such a public event shines a spotlight on our community, and it significantly rocked our RAF widowed world. The ‘ripple’ effect of this accident is much greater than most would ever realise. It not only extends deep into our RAF community, but it also extends across the whole military bereaved community, across the services and all of us whose loved one died whilst serving.

I was acutely aware of this ripple effect from a personal perspective. My own grief, ever present, was somehow suddenly brought back to fore. In my role as Chair of the RAF Widows’ Association, I reached out to many of our members – some widowed in the days or weeks before Mark’s death, and some widowed many years before. All are widows that I have come to know well and who we, as an Association, support.  It was important to let them know that the arms of the RAF Widows’ Association were wrapped around them; this is what peer support, with the vital ingredient of ‘lived experience’, looks like. Being able to call those I know well and say “how are you?” “we’ve got you!” is so important. This is our unique offering – it is what all three Single Service Widows Associations offer; the Royal Navy and Royal Marines Widows Association, the Army Widows Association and the War Widows Association. It is what Scotties Little Soldiers provides for the children of those who die in service, and it is what SSAFA’s Bereaved Support Group and Military Families Affected by Suicide Group provides for families.

We work quietly, discreetly in the background, after every service death, wrapping our arms around those who need us the most. We work closely with the MOD, in particular the bereaved cells from each of the services, and Service Charities ensuring that support in these most difficult of circumstances is as seamless as it can be – it is not always perfect, but death is not perfect and we understand that. We are there 24/7, 365 days a year, providing support to those who have given the most.  There has been much discussion recently about a lack of support to the bereaved, but this last week, and in fact, every day, I know this is not the case.

But please, if you yourself are bereaved and struggling, or you know of a bereaved person who may be struggling, reach out. There are groups who can provide support.  We have a social/societal/personal responsibility to check in on those who may be struggling, so please do reach out.

Our Executive Members

By @Cobseo 54 years ago

Afghanistan support

In light of recent events in Afghanistan, please find information and support resources here