Lost Nimrod airman’s daughter heaps praise on RAFBF

FS Gary Andrews was a victim when Nimrod XV230 crashed in Kandahar

ALMOST TEN YEARS after her father was a tragic victim of the Nimrod MR2 crash in Afghanistan a young woman has heaped praise on the RAF Benevolent Fund for their help and assistance to her family.

Sophia Andrews was just 12-years-old when tragedy struck and her father, Flight Sergeant Gary Andrews, was one of 14 who died when XV230 crashed while monitoring Taliban insurgents west of Kandahar.

Flight Sergeant Andrews was survived by wife Kiristina and daughters Lauren, then four, and Sophia, 12 – the airman had lived in Fochabers for almost 20 years and while he was originally from Kent had come to regard Moray as his home.

Four years after her father’s death, the RAF Benevolent Fund provided a grant that allowed Sophia to attend Gordonstoun School where she was provided with the platform that saw her continue her studies at York University, where she is now in her final year studying the history of Art.

Sophia said: “I am extremely grateful for what the Fund’s support has allowed me to do. I would never have been able to study at York without their help and I now want to go on and do a masters.

“I was very young when my father died but I know he would have wanted my sister and I to be the best we possibly could be. Going to Gordonstoun gave me opportunities I never would have had and it was there I became interested in art. I was given the time to invest in myself.

“I also met my fiancé at university and that would not have happened had I not been at York. We will always be grateful to the Fund for what they have done.”

Last night the chairman of the RAF Lossiemouth Benevolent Fund team, Karen Cox, said: “We are always so proud to be supporting the RAF Benevolent Fund locally, especially when you read stories like Sophia’s.

“It is always heart-warming to know the funds you are raising are making such a difference to someone’s life. The RAFBF receives no Government funding, so fundraising like ours is vital to help them continue their support of our RAF family, which is why we hope our Cairngorm to Coast event in May will surpass the £5,000 target we have set.”