For those who know us well, you’ll know that we care passionately about the local community and like to support local charities where we can. Since opening in May 2017, the team at The Red Lion have raised and donated over £1,600 to various charities through a number of initiatives, and intend to raise even more in 2018!

This year however, brings a new charity our way that is very close to our community’s heart.

With The Red Lion being located just up the road from RAF Odiham, the home of the Chinook, the Royal Air Force is a very important part of the village for our customers and neighbours. We have many serving and former members of the RAF who are loyal customers at the pub, and we happily offer 10% off dining and accommodation to those with an official military ID. Which is why in 2018 we are proud to be supporting the Royal Air Force Benevolent Fund (The RAFBF), to help show our ongoing support to the RAF families, both locally and further afield.


Cadets and veteran at RAF memorial


The Royal Air Force Benevolent Fund, formed in 1919, is the leading welfare charity for the RAF, with a proud tradition of looking after serving and former members and their families. As an independent charity, they receive no regular Government funding and so, therefore, rely entirely on public support to continue their work.

In 2016 the charity spent £17.6m supporting more than 65,000 members of the RAF Family.

The RAFBF provides a range of support to RAF personnel, which includes:

  • Welfare breaks
  • Help with financial difficulty and counselling
  • Support and grants for getting about inside and outside the home for RAF veterans
  • Specialist advice on benefits and support with care needs
  • Support and development for young people through their Airplay programme; a £24 million youth support programme for RAF families

These are just a few examples of the amazing work this charity does for it’s serving and former members, to ensure both them and their families are taken care of.


Members of the RAF


The importance of the RAF to our local community was evident during our refurb of The Red Lion in 2017. When promoting our 7 hotel rooms, it was suggested by a number of locals that we name each room after RAF aircraft’s, which of course we thought was a fantastic idea and so did!

Since opening, we’ve had many visitors from far and wide comment on how lovely it is to see the RAF’s presence within our hotel and inn. It is clear from comments just how many people have been touched by the RAF in some way.

When speaking to the charity about our partnership, their Regional Director commented:

“Local support means a lot to the Fund; without it we simply wouldn’t be able to spread awareness of what we do for those in the RAF – past and present – to the public. Edina and everyone at The Red Lion in Odiham have been so generous with both their time and efforts – we really are grateful to them for helping the RAF Family, and look forward to working together in the year ahead.” commented Paul Hewson, Regional Director for the RAF Benevolent Fund.

Chinook room at The Red Lion

We will be raising money for the RAFBF through a number of initiatives including:

  • Collection boxes on the bar, for when customers are willing to kindly donate their loose change
  • We will be donating 20p from every pint sold of our own recipe, Red Mist Ale, brewed by the fantastic Tilford Brewery
  • In July 2018, a team of Red Mist Leisure staff will be taking on their biggest challenge yet to raise money for three charities; one being The Royal Air Force Benevolent Fund. Our own staff members and colleagues will be walking the length of Hadrian’s Wall which is a total of 86 miles, over 3 days. We will be encouraging customers and local residents to support us by donating to our Just Giving page. Please keep an eye out for more details of this challenge.

“We’re so pleased to be able to support this worthy cause and are very excited to get started with our fundraising efforts. It’s a charity close to our customers, friends and staff members hearts and to be able to contribute to the amazing work they provide to members and former members of the RAF makes us incredibly proud.” said Julian Clarke, Director at Red Mist Leisure.

As well as supporting this fantastic charity, we will be helping the RAF to celebrate their 100th year. The centenary itself will be marked by special events, activities and other initiatives from April 2018 and we plan to mark the occasion within the pub as well. Keep an eye on our Facebook page for updates.

Take a look at our Local page, to find out how else we support and work with the local community.