TWELVE years after an RAF plane was shot down killing all ten people on board, including eight from RAF Lyneham, a Wiltshire woman has thanked the benevolent fund which supported her after she lost her father.

Chief technician Richard Brown, who was serving with the engineering wing at RAF Lyneham, and nine others were killed when the RAF Hercules they were flying in was shot down by Iraqi insurgents on January 30, 2005.

Laura Brown was only 10 when she lost her dad and was supported by the RAF Benevolent Fund, the RAF’s leading welfare charity, allowing her to attend Roedean boarding school and study integrated mechanical and electrical engineering at Bath University.

Laura, 22, will now support the charity by getting involved in their national fundraiser event and host a great British Sunday lunch on April 2.

She said: “The RAF Benevolent Fund has played such an important role in my life. With their support I have had so many wonderful opportunities which I probably wouldn’t have had, like being able to study at Roedean. It was a life-changing school for me that has opened so many doors.

“I wouldn’t have been where I am today if it wasn’t for the help from the fund. The things they have done for me and my life, I am so thankful for.”

The incident was the biggest single loss of British forces in Iraq at the time and resulted in greater safety measures on Hercules aircraft.

Group captain Mike Neville, officer commanding 47 Squadron at the time of the crash and who is now director of fundraising at the RAF Benevolent Fund, said: “It is the words no commander wants to hear and to this day still haunts me.

“I first met Laura in the days following the tragic loss of her father and being a father myself I was acutely aware of how difficult this period was for the family.

"I was, and still am, in awe of how Laura coped and how she has grown and developed into a kind, generous and thoughtful individual.”