Proud Rachel wants to share her MBE with her RAFA team
Rachel Huxford said she thought it was a hoax when she was informed she would be awarded an MBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List.
The 45-year-old Somerby woman, who is director of marketing and fundraising for the Royal Air Force Association, said her ‘fantastic team’ should take a share in the prestigious medal.
Rachel was given the award for leading the charity’s emergency response during the coronavirus pandemic as it reached out to tens of thousands of veterans across the UK to support them emotionally and financially.
She told the Melton Times this week: “It was a complete surprise to be told I was getting an MBE I thought it was a hoax.
“I found out a couple of weeks ago and I managed to not tell anyone apart from my boyfriend, who I live with.
“I’m really, really pleased but at the same time conscious that it wasn’t just me.
“I had a fantastic team and they are equally deserving.”
Rachel developed four key initiatives which RAFA could deliver rapidly to meet the needs of increasing numbers of beneficiaries during lockdown.
She ensured 500 emergency ‘bag drops’ of essential supplies were delivered to the most vulnerable in the RAF community across the UK.
Her work with her team also saw an outreach programme, contacting 30,000 of the most vulnerable veterans, and she then masterminded a telephone befriending service which supports thousands of people every week.
She has delivered an online entertainment package that has been viewed over one million times, all alongside her work as marketing and fundraising head of the country’s largest single services membership charity.
Rachel, who is based at RAFA’s national HQ at Leicester, said of her honour: “It’s great recognition for everything the charity did.
“It was a huge challenge during the pandemic.
“Financially, we couldn’t fundraise so we had to make sure the future of the charity wasn’t endangered.
“The vast majority of our staff were furloughed immediately so we were working with a really skeleton team and we were working 20-hour days.
“The bag drops were nationwide so it was a bit like trying to set up a mini Amazon.”
She praised the Melton branch of RAFA, which is based on Asfordby Road, and its team of staff and volunteers for the ‘fantastic’ way they responded to the pandemic.
Rachel’s citation says she has secured many millions of pounds essential to the charity’s work at what has been an incredibly difficult time for charities to fundraise.