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Abbots Langley RAF veteran David Francis, 90, to retire from air force charity
A 90-year-old war veteran is finally set to retire after "giving his life to the RAF" for more than 70 years.
The former flight lieutenant, of Kitters Green, Abbots Langley, joined the RAF in 1942 and spent four years in active service during the Second World War and a further 10 years in the Voluntary Reserves.
David Francis has since spent more than 50 years serving the community of Abbots Langley through his involvement in two major charities. From 1962 to 1982 he worked with 2(F) Squadron Watford Air Training Corp and in later years combined this role with his position with the Royal Air force Association (RAFA). He is currently the chairman of the association.
RAFA treasurer Trevor Hayes said: "All his life he has been associated with the RAF and he’s given his life to them."
In 2008 Mr Francis received the Association's National Presidential Certificate, in recognition of his tireless work for the charity.
Patricia Hayes, honorary welfare officer, said: "He is very modest. He’s always been very sociable and chatty. The family are very close and love him to bits."
Mrs Hayes added: "We presented him with a book of his lifetime achievements. The book was full of tributes from some of the cadets he had worked with at Watford 2F. They had written letters explaining that they wouldn’t be where they are today without David."
Mr Francis met his wife, Edna, in 1942 when he was working as an RAF serviceman and knocked on her door to borrow some tea. Fellow RAFA member and wings appeal coordinator, Emlyn Parry, said that Edna is 100 per cent behind him.
Mr Parry said: "They are joined at the hip and have a real 50/50 relationship. Without her support he would not be where he is today.
"David is very well known and well loved in the village. They have been so busy throughout their whole lives but they do it so unselfishly. They are both so unassuming and humble and have never looked for any praise.
In July 2008 the 2F Squadron Air Training Corps Headquarters was renamed "The David Francis Headquarters".
Mr and Mrs Francis’ daughter, Elaine, said of her parents: "They are just an amazing couple who have put so much into so many things that have helped so many people. It’s amazing that they are both 90 years old. Dad has done some wonderful things but mum has always been the strength behind him. The family are all very proud of them both."
Mr Francis is set to retire as chairman of the association in 2014.
To sum Mr Francis up, Mr Hayes added: "You have to run to keep up with him. He just doesn’t stop."
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