340. Ena Day
Ena Day, a 94-year-old World War 2 veteran from Swindon has volunteered for the Royal Air Forces Association for almost 70 years raising funds and providing welfare support to serving and retired service personnel.
Ena is one of the charity’s oldest and most active volunteers. Since leaving the RAF in 1946 she has maintained a remarkable determination to serve and support the charity’s work devoting countless hours to providing welfare and raising funds.
In the late 1930s Ena was a government telephone exchange operator. Desperate to actively serve her country during the Second World War, she volunteered to join the Women’s Auxiliary Force (WAAF) in 1942. She trained as a Direction Finding Operator at RAF Hawkinge in Kent, where she was stationed on D-Day. The experiences inspired her to join WAAF and the RAF Associations and even though she has been employed throughout her life and raised two children, she has remained dedicated to furthering the aims of both of these Associations ever since.
As a member of the Association’s Swindon Branch, Ena provided pastoral and welfare care to individuals and families. She is still an active fundraiser and has raised thousands of pounds for the charity by organising raffles and jumble sales. Her latest fundraising activity is crafts: knitting hats for the little Association bears and making cards her branch sells in aid of the charity.
Prime Minister David Cameron said:
“Ena is a fantastic example of the public spirit of her generation throughout the war effort. She not only stepped up to serve in the Women’s Auxiliary Air Force, she didn’t hesitate to move on to support the RAF Association after the war. She has given nearly seven decades of service providing both welfare support and innovative fundraising ideas and I am delighted to be able to recognise her service with this award.”
Ena said of being given the award:
‘It’s a great surprise and such a big honour. I’ve not done this for myself but for the RAF Association and for those that need our help. I’ve been so happy when I’ve been able to help people. It’s not just personelle, it’s family and children and they generally won’t ask for help, you have to find out they need it. Winning this award is for all those doing the same work as me to.’