We’re thrilled to announce the arrival of our Royal Air Force Association cadet bear, the newest member of the RAFA bear collection! These fluffy friends are just one of the ways in which the Association has raised money to support the RAF community over the last decade.
The 2020 Cadet Bear is dressed in working blues RAF air cadet uniform, with utility jumper, trousers, epaulettes, brassard and a beret with its air cadet badge correctly placed over its left eye. Pete Brocklehurst, Branch Fundraising Manager, said:
“Our first bear wore a white t-shirt with the Royal Air Force’s logo on it and was created to celebrate the ninetieth anniversary of the formation of the RAF. Since then, our bears have become a little more smartly dressed, as befits their military ‘bearing’!
“We used to only use bears to raise funds, by offering them as prizes in ‘Name Me, Claim Me’ competitions. Supporters paid £1 to choose from a list of possible names, with the winner receiving the bear. They are still a very popular way for our branches to raise money, as everyone loves bears.”
So many people asked where they could buy the Association’s bears that the charity started selling them online, and now a new member of the bear family comes along every year.
Designing each bear takes careful thought.
“We usually start with RAF anniversaries, so in 2018 we had a range of bears celebrating 100 years since the formation of the RAF. We’ve also created bears wearing Red Arrows flying suits, Women’s RAF uniforms and RAF Regiment uniforms.”
The charity also uses a bear to raise awareness of one of its welfare services. Bertie the befriender bear belongs to Marjorie, the widow of an RAF veteran. Bertie was given to Marjorie by her befriender (or bearfriender!) Sean, a retired RAF Air Vice-Marshal, but the intrepid little bear has not stood still since.
Bertie has travelled the world and met lots of interesting people, reporting back to Marjorie and keeping her connected with the RAF family. Lots of Bertie’s cousins (also called Bertie!) have been sold to raise money to help other members of the RAF family suffering from loneliness and isolation.
These bears have proven to be very popular as they appeal to people of all ages, and the cadet bear is no different. Since the launch last week it’s already flying off the shelves, helping to raise vital funds for RAF families who need us.
Don’t miss out, get your cadet bear today! Visit www.rafatrad.co.uk