This week marked the centenary of the Royal British Legion – 100 years providing support for the armed forces, campaigning for their interests and promoting Remembrance.
Saturday, May 15th, has been designated RBL 100 and special commemorative badges with the poppy on them have been designed, wreaths will be laid and there will be a Battle of Britain memorial flypast.
Abingdon has long held the poppy close to its heart and the Legion has been a presence in the town since at least 1933. In the past five years Abingdon has donated almost a quarter of a million pounds to the Poppy Appeal – an incredible jump on the £20,000 raised annually a decade ago.
Clare Oldfield, Poppy Appeal Organiser, said: ‘Support in the town is humbling, awe-inspiring and collecting is always an emotional experience. Remember this money comes from donations, nothing has a price on it. This is what people want to give. It is not uncommon for them to give £30, £40 and £50 for a single poppy. Or hundreds of pounds for a wreath.’
The Poppy Appeal in the town is organised and run by the RBL social club in Spring Road, Abingdon – drawing together veterans, cadets, schools, college students and dedicated collectors.
And not even a pandemic was going to stop the town raising thousands of pounds once again when house to house, supermarket and street collections were banned last year.
Covid restrictions meant the club remained closed for this weekend’s RBL 100 celebrations. It reopens on Monday May 17th to members and their guests. Membership is not limited to the armed forces and Stuart Jackson, club chairman, said: ‘We look forward to being at the heart of the community once more, to celebrating the centenary, to welcome old friends back – and maybe even some new ones.’
If you would like to become a poppy collector or to share your Legion story contact Clare Oldfield on firstname.lastname@example.org
To find out more about the Royal British Legion go to: https://www.britishlegion.org.uk
Pictures show one of the RBL 100 badges, and veteran Bob Strachan, a long-term poppy collector.