RAF Charity garden for Chelsea

The RAF Benevolent Fund will unveil its first ever garden at the 2022 RHS Chelsea Flower Show (24th to 28th May 2022) with a design aimed at inspiring viewers to look into their own history and speak to family and friends about their connections to the RAF.

Designed by award-winning designer, John Everiss, the garden will feature a sculpture of a young pilot looking up at the sky, cut from stainless steel, to create a moving and imposing tribute to all those who have served and continue to serve in the RAF.

Funding for the garden is being provided by Project Giving Back, a new support scheme enabling charities to create a garden at the world-renowned show and following Chelsea, the garden will be relocated to a permanent site at London Biggin Hill Airport.

John (pictured above) expressed his delight at the opportunity to work with the RAF Benevolent Fund on the Chelsea garden: “My father was an RAF navigator during WW2, so I have grown up hearing the amazing stories of veterans and their families.

As a member of the RAF Family, the opportunity to be able to thank them and highlight the fantastic work the charity does is a privilege for me and my team, we really can’t wait to get going,” he said.

John’s father Stan, was a navigator on Stirling bombers and survived being shot down over occupied France in 1943. After being hidden by local resistance fighters he was eventually guided over the Pyrenees and eventually reunited with his family after four months.

Jason Shauness, Director of Fundraising and Communications at the RAF Benevolent Fund is excited at the opportunity for the charity to have a Chelsea Show garden through the Project Giving Back funding: “We are incredibly grateful to Project Giving Back and the RHS for making it happen,” he said. “We’ve had a tough couple of years but we are excited to be able to share our journey with our supporters and the general public. We are delighted to be working with award-winning garden designer John Everiss whose father served in the RAF.”

A stone spiral wall surrounds and protects the sculpture, just as the blast walls would have done in 1940. Enclosed within, a curved larch seat allows the visitor to sit and look up at the pilot and imagine the view he would have seen.

The RAF Benevolent Fund has been providing support to veterans, serving personnel and their families for over 100 years. The Chelsea garden celebrates the help and protection the charity has continued to provide from the First World War to the present day.

For more information about the garden or how the Fund supports the RAF Family, please visit www.rafbf.org/chelsea