RAFFF Team Image of Mara Lyle

I joined the RAF Families Federation in late 2018 after a varied career – including serving in the RAF, working in leadership roles in local and central government, and most recently as a Director for a large IT Operations specialist.

I am passionate about voicing the concerns of Serving Personnel and families to policy makers and senior leaders, and trying to ensure that the Federation team represents you all.  Whether you are single, in a relationship, have children – or have other caring responsibilities – the Federation is here for you and wants to understand your experiences and challenges.  Please get in touch and raise issues with us via the ‘Report an issue’ form on the website.  It really does make a difference.

As Office Manager I am often the first point of contact and am responsible for all aspects of the office including health and safety, travel requirements and resources.

Having been married to a ‘Heavy’ for over 30 years I followed my husband around and have encountered the ups and downs of changes in my career path. Working any job around family life with flexibility to accommodate the RAF requirements of my husband. I worked in a bank (cleaning lol) and various shops, pubs and offices. I spent nearly 15 years in prisons, working in various departments and have successfully pulled all this experience together and utilise these skills in this position.

Meet the Team: Tim Unwin

I joined the RAFFF as Communications Manager in 2023, bringing 20+ years of knowledge and experience from the world of Consumer Media, Publishing and Communications to this role. I am tasked with making sure the message of what the Federation can do to help and support Serving Personnel and families gets out to as many of those people as possible, and in the clearest way.

One of my main responsibilities is producing our quarterly magazine Envoy, and I am enthusiastic about promoting relevant and engaging articles, advice and information to our audience. Please do get in touch with your feedback, or if you have ideas for great content that will interest or benefit our readers.

Whilst I may never have served, many of my close friends and family have, and I have witnessed first-hand how a career in the Armed Forces impacts on people’s lives. I am now extremely proud to be working with a team whose role it is to help make positive changes to those lives.

RAFFF Team Image of Nick Crouch

I started my career as an apprentice draughtsman and my working life has been in a variety of industries and roles from working on gas pipelines to the Ministry of Defence (MOD) for the RAF. Latterly, for almost 20 years, I earnt my living in the publishing and marketing sectors, which stood me in good stead for my current position.

My daily jobs here include graphic design, gathering and posting news onto our website (I have to admit I’m a bit OCD on Google Analytics) along with the day-to-day work on our social media channels and weekly eBulletin.

RAFFF Reported Issues Q2 2022

I joined the RAFFF team in 2020, and whilst I have not served, I bring a wealth of website and digital marketing knowledge to the table.

I joined initially, to work on an overseas project, creating new content for our personnel and families overseas, bridging the gap between service provided information ensuring you can make informed decisions about overseas postings and reduce any unwanted surprises.

Moving forward my area of responsibility has expanded and I now have responsibility for the website and social media channels. I have set my sights on growing and enhancing the RAFFF website content and social media accounts, to ensure we deliver the latest and best information available, in a format that is easy to understand and digest. (Feedback is welcome!)

RAFFF Team Member, Ian Todd

I am delighted to have joined the RAF FF. My most recent background has been as an OD Consultant (Talent and Leadership), with NHS Blood and Transplant. I was responsible for working with all levels of teams on organisational and culture change and was the lead deliverer on their Leadership and Management programmes, as well as Team Building facilitator and coach/ mentor. I have a military background, having served 22 years as a Personnel Administrator in the RAF. I left in December of 2003, after serving at a range of units and in a host of roles, most notably as an Instructor on GST1 / JMLC course at ACS RAF Halton.

The RAF gave me almost everything and it’s now my turn to give a bit back, and I look forward to doing that in my role here. More often than not it will be me who is your first point of contact here at the RAFFF.

Right Care Right Place A4 Poster

I join the RAFFF team following a 22-year career in the Royal Air Force, during which I fulfilled a broad range of personnel-related roles, including Policy, Infrastructure Management, Human Resources, Recruitment, Accounts Management and Media Operations, at both UK and Overseas locations. With a serving husband and two growing daughters, achieving work / life integration during my time in the RAF required difficult decisions to be made with many compromises along the way. With first-hand experience of both single and family life in the RAF, a desire to make a difference and the professional knowledge gained during my RAF career, I will passionately advocate the fair representation of the RAF Family.

The Policy Manager role directly links with my final RAF role in the MOD’s Armed Forces People Support Team where I witnessed first-hand the valuable work that the RAF Families Federation undertook. There is a lot going on to improve the lives of all our Service Personnel but if there is something that needs to change please contact the RAF Families Federation, together we can make a difference.

RAFFF Team Image of Alexandra Stokes

I joined the RAF Families Federation team in August 2021 and work closely with Vanessa in the Policy Team.  

I am a qualified primary school teacher with extensive experience in education working with children, families and external organisations. As an RAF spouse, I have a good understanding of military life and am keen to combine my knowledge and experience to support Service personnel and their families. I am committed to understanding policy and initiatives and representing the RAF Family in this key area that impacts so many.  

Here at the RAF Families Federation, we are keen to understand your experiences and challenges, so please contact us to help us support you and make a difference. 

RAFFF Team Image of Caroline Evans

I joined the RAF Families Federation in May 22 as part of the Policy Team. I focus on issues relating to health care and additional needs for serving personnel, reservists and their families. I served in the RAF as an Air Traffic Controller for 10 years and as an RAF spouse spent the next 20 years moving around the UK and overseas with my husband and two daughters.  More recently I have worked in the welfare and advice charity sector and have wide experience of supporting people across a range of issues.

At the RAFFF we strive to provide informed support, advice and signposting to families who need it; we advocate for our RAF families using their lived experience to provide evidence for change. We want to shape policy to make the lives of RAF families better.

We understand that deployments, service requirements and the transitory nature of service life can present a unique set of circumstances for families. We are here for you, and will do our utmost to support you to find a solution so that you and your family are not disadvantaged by service commitments.

Meet the team - Sue Gee

I am excited to be joining the RAFFF, moving into this role following nearly 15 years as a MOD Civil Servant and prior to that working in the NHS. I have previously served in the RAF and currently serve in the RAF Reserves. I am keen to utilise my current and previous experience to help me to support Service personnel and their families in my role in the Policy Team.

The RAF Families Federation works hard to ensure that you and your family are treated fairly and I am committed to developing my understanding of where we can make a positive difference to the RAF Community.

Meet the Team: Stan Brathwaite

With 38 years as a communications electronic engineer in the RAF and a further three years in the same roles as a contractor in the MOD, at all of the very interesting isolated detachments has sculpted a highly polished cynic of all things establishment-related.  However as a young thrusting Corporal, the moves between five stations, eight married quarters and the associated family disruption in a nine-year period was the last straw that saw me and my wife scrambling into the private housing market. That was the precursor for the mortgage rates to rise exponentially, 15% or more, oops! We stoically dug in and survived. Does this qualify me to represent families? You might think not, however in my defence, I find it a privilege to assist RAF families and serving personnel, especially as a number of organisations seem to need more than a gentle reminder of the very important role that you all play in the defence of the realm.

Meet the Team: Mark Hayhurst

I am delighted to join the RAFFF team having served in the RAF for 32 years as a Physical Training Instructor / Exercise Rehabilitation Instructor and as a Medical Support Officer.

In my role, I’ll be looking to represent Service personnel and their families across the spectrum of accommodation types within the RAF (SLA, SFA, SSFA). I am highly motivated and enthusiastic to combine those challenges that Service personnel and their families face with my military experience in order to provide a better RAF Families and Service personnel accommodation experience.

The RAF Families Federation Accommodation Specialist team are here to provide support, guidance and signposting on behalf of Service personnel and their families with a strong focus to engage with those key stakeholders on your behalf to ensure the continued improvement of the RAF accommodation estate.

Meet the Team: Wendy Drysdale

In my role as Evidence Officer, I will predominantly be drawing together information gathered from Armed Forces reports and surveys, to identify areas where the RAF Families Federation can advocate for change. Where further evidence is required I will initiate surveys to further investigate disadvantage, in an effort to ensure we can fully represent the needs and challenges of the RAF Family.

Having served in the Personnel trade for 22 years Regular service and a further 6 years as a Reservist, I have been employed in customer focused roles including Personnel Services, Operational Squadron, training, statistical data compilation and recruitment and selection. I also served in Kuwait/Iraq during the 2003 Gulf conflict. As a RAF spouse and mother, I am familiar with many of the challenges RAF families encounter. In the role, I can draw on my own experiences and skills to represent the RAF community.