Royal British Legion at 100: What being a member means to us

The Royal British Legion turns 100 this year, as does the Wymondham branch

The Royal British Legion turns 100 this year, as does the Wymondham branch - Credit: Archant

Royal British Legion members have revealed what the charity means to them as it reaches its 100th anniversary. 

This year marks a century since the Legion was founded to give former service personnel a voice.

Today it is one of the country's best-known charities, providing a range of support to veterans and their families. 

From L to R: Brian Bandy, Ann Rogerson, Maurice Eke and Fred Squires from the Wymondham RBL branch

From L to R: Brian Bandy, Ann Rogerson, Maurice Eke and Fred Squires from the Wymondham RBL branch - Credit: Archant

Also turning 100 is the Wymondham branch, whose members shared insight into the RBL's importance.

"I am so glad I chose Wymondham," said president Fred Squires, a member since 1955.


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"Our standard bearers are the best I have ever seen - and the friendship between them fantastic. We can be very proud."

Maurice Eke, who served with the Royal Tank Regiment, joined the legion following his departure and is now vice chairman. 

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The 86-year-old added: "I have always enjoyed it. We do our best to organise events and get people together.

"My wife loved all the military stuff I did and would come to the meetings. The legion got me out and mixing with friends again."

At a national level the RBL has worked hard in recent years to modernise, including with a new logo.

Branches are increasingly keen to develop affiliations with schools and spark interest among younger generations.

The Royal British Legion turns 100 this year, as does the Wymondham branch

The Royal British Legion turns 100 this year, as does the Wymondham branch - Credit: Archant

"The RBL is a more open organisation now," said Ann Rogerson, who served in the Signals and is Wymondham secretary.

"It is slowly becoming visible to people - not just at Remembrance time.

"A lot of people associate us with the Poppy Appeal, but we are here 365 days of the year."

Staying visible has, of course, been far from easy throughout the pandemic. 

Coping has been especially tough for members who live alone and rely heavily on meetings to socialise. 

"Not being able to see friends has been terrible," added Mr Squires, 87. "And now, when you do see people, it is a funny feeling in itself."

John Morter, outgoing Wymondham RBL chairman, is presented with a of certificate of appreciation by county chairman Hugh King

John Morter (right), outgoing chairman of Wymondham Royal British Legion, is presented with a of certificate of appreciation by county chairman Hugh King - Credit: Wymondham RBL

While looking forward to the post-Covid era, Mrs Rogerson said the legion's core values remain the same. 

"It can be daunting coming out of the services when you have spent years being housed and looked after," she added.

"We all support each other. We provide friendship and assistance wherever possible."

Members of Wymondham RBL would like to thank outgoing chairman John Morter for his tremendous service. 

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