Royal Air Force Odiham - World Book Day Richard Bland visit. Photo by SAC James Goff
Children at three RAF stations’ nurseries have had stories read to them during a visit from a children’s author as part of World Book Day.

Richard Bland, author of AB Gets His Wings, with children at RAFA Kidz Odiham.

The children and employees at RAFA Kidz Cranwell, RAFA Kidz Odiham and RAFA Kidz Digby welcomed Richard Bland, author of AB Gets His Wings, a book aimed at children going through bereavement.

Richard’s son, Andrew, committed suicide at the age of 31 in 2013, leaving his wife, child, family and friends. Richard wrote the book, about a teddy bear who learns to fly with the RAF and experiences different emotions along the way, to help open discussions with children about how they are feeling.

AB Gets His Wings is one of several stories which serving RAF personnel can choose to record for their children to listen to while they are serving away from home, as part of the RAF Association’s Storybook Wings audiobook project.

Richard, who is an associate member of IV Squadron at RAF Valley, said:

“I hope the book can teach young people about the importance of talking to their parents. If Andrew had spoken to us it would have been a completely different story.”

RAFA Kidz Odiham Nursery Manager Kate Richards said:

“The children really enjoyed the reading of AB Gets His Wings as part of World Book Day. It was very kind of Richard to share his story with us, and we hope it plays some part in helping the children to better understand and talk about their emotions.”

Sales of AB Gets His Wings helps to fund the work of the RAF Association, including welfare work, the Storybook Wings project and befriender visits to RAF veterans to help combat loneliness and isolation. Funds from the book also go towards bereavement counselling charity The Dove Service.

For more information about the RAF Association, visit www.rafa.org.uk