Veteran celebrates 100th birthday by raising funds for 'favourite charity' RAF Benevolent Fund
A YEAR of surprises including a trip to Daedalus for an RAF veteran’s 100th birthday raised funds for a good cause.
Veteran Dennis Barber, who was born in Portsmouth, celebrated his 100th birthday on Christmas Eve at Howard Park Bowls Club in Basingstoke, where he is an active member and president.
Dennis decided to use his birthday celebrations as an opportunity to raise money for the RAF Benevolent Fund, which supports the whole of the RAF family by providing practical, financial and emotional support.
Dennis said: ‘I’ve had a fantastic day and it’s been wonderful to see so many of my family and friends. There were even a few surprises – RAF Swanwick Station Commander Gez Currie, who I met earlier in the year, came down to join the celebrations.
‘The RAF Benevolent Fund is my favourite charity and I know that it will be there to support me should I ever need it.’
Dennis’s family organised other surprises throughout the year to celebrate his centenary year, including a visit to see a Spitfire at Daedalus Airfield at Lee-on-the-Solent, where Boultbee Flight Academy gave Dennis a tour of the Spitfire they use for ‘experience’ flights, and a VIP trip to Fratton Park for thee boyhood Pompey fan.
Afterwards, he sat in the passenger seat and went on a taxi ride around the airfield.
Dennis, who now lives in Basingstoke, spent many years living in Waterlooville and joined the RAF as a Flight mechanic aged 20.
He spent six years in the RAF, initially based at bomber base RAF Wheaton, where he worked on Wellington Bombers.
A four-year posting to RAF Heany in Rhodesia, now Zimbabwe, led to Dennis completing his service at RAF Brockenhurst, where he met and married his wife Winifred who was working in the stores.
Heather Kemp, regional fundraiser at the RAF Benevolent Fund, said: ‘You don’t turn 100 every day, so we’re thrilled Dennis has chosen to raise money for the RAF Benevolent Fund.
‘In 2019 the fund celebrated its own 100th anniversary. It was formed in 1919 to provide welfare assistance to injured airmen and since then it has extended its support to all serving personnel, veterans, and their partners and dependants.’