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100-year old RAF Veteran receives over 850 birthday cards from well-wishers around the world

A message posted by the RAFSC & TSW (Royal Air Force Servicing Commando and Tactical Supply Wing Association) has gone viral, resulting in hundreds of cards being sent to mark Group Captain Stanley Clarke’s milestone birthday.

The message posted on the Association’s Facebook page, followed by 1,200 people, asked supporters to send Stanley a 100th birthday card with the message “let’s fill up his care home with cards”.

A fabulous response meant that Stanley, a former Servicing Commando, RAF Pilot and Station Commander of Swanton Morley, awoke on his 100th birthday to over 850 cards sent from former service men and women, supporters and well-wishers from as far afield as the USA, Canada and Australia.

The initial post was shared over 34 times, attracting over 72 likes and a comments section filled with gratitude for Stanley’s years of service. The post was also shared across multiple military veteran sites across all services.  One comment summing up the thoughts of many and drew on the spirit of the Royal Air Force motto “through adversity to the stars” – “HBD have a fantastic day sir! Per Ardua Ad Astra”

Reflecting on the response to his birthday, Stanley said, “I just want to say thank you so much to everyone who sent me these wonderful cards and gifts, this was totally unexpected and overwhelming but very much appreciated”

Stanley joined the Royal Air Force as an electrical fitter apprentice at 16 in 1940. He volunteered for Commando training in 1942 and then spent the war in North Africa and Europe. Stanley retired from the Royal Air Force in 1979 and now lives at Harcourt Gardens care home in Harrogate, North Yorkshire.

Alongside the unprecedented number of cards received from people nationwide, Stanley also opened his card from King Charles III on his birthday.

Stanley celebrated his big day with a party with friends and family who travelled from Australia and Canada and an afternoon tea was arranged by staff at Harcourt Gardens.

Adelina Pangilinan, home manager at Harcourt Gardens commented, “The cards just kept on coming, it was quite amazing.

“Nobody knew just how well the request would be received and it was absolutely wonderful to see the look on Stanley’s face when we delivered him the cards.

“It’s clear to see that Stanley, alongside all the other brave and admirable veterans are part of a very tight knit community and it’s wonderful see the support and admiration for him.”

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