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Royal British Legion


The Royal British Legion were proud to accept an invitation to attend the recent Food Fayre event, organized by Elior in conjunction with the Army, and held in the impressive house and grounds of Leigh Court on the outskirts Bristol.


support


The event provided an ideal forum for The Legion to interact with the local business community and also members of the Armed Forces and other charitable organisations.


Also, in view of the huge commitment that faces The Royal British Legion in the forthcoming years, as more of our armed forces return from overseas conflicts in need of support, it was an ideal opportunity to highlight the significance of this years Poppy Appeal, and how we have:


• Provided financial and welfare support to more than 10,000 Service personnel who have served in Iraq and Afghanistan and their families, whilst also not forgetting those from previous conflicts and generations that continue to need our help.


• Represented one-third of all the appeals for higher compensation payments for


injuries suffered in Afghanistan, and our campaigns have led to increased compensation awards which have placed an extra £12 million in the pockets of the most seriously injured.


• Committed £25 million to the Personnel Recovery Centres, including £12 million to The Royal British Legion Battle Back Challenge Centre, a facility being built to enhance the recovery of wounded, injured and sick Service personnel, which will become a national centre of excellence for adaptive sport and adventure training with the military at its core.


• Continued to spend more than £1.4 million a week or over £200,000 a day in its work helping over 160,000 other members of the Armed Forces Family – dependents, veterans and the bereaved.


Last year the Poppy Appeal raised over £34.5 million pounds and this year, with the help of proceeds from our annual Pedal to Paris bike ride, which saw ex-England Manager, Graham Taylor take to his bike, and the March for Honor Campaign, we hope to break yet another record.


The Poppy Appeal


Each year the nation expresses its unequivocal support for the Legion’s work through its generous support of the Poppy Appeal. The Poppy Factory in Richmond, London, produces millions of poppies every year, along with the wreaths laid at Remembrance services around the country and the poppy petals that fall at the Festival of Remembrance at the Royal Albert Hall.


Why poppies?


The First World War caused widespread devastation to areas of Northern France and Belgium, but the poppy flowered every year, bringing colour and hope to the devastated landscape. Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae, a doctor serving with the Canadian Armed Forces, was deeply moved by what he saw and, inspired by the poppies, wrote a poem - In Flanders’ Fields. McCrae died in a military hospital on the French coast, but it was published in Punch magazine, showing the world what conditions on the battlefields were like.


On the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month in 1918, the WW1 ended. Thousands had died, thousands more had been injured and scarred by their horrific experiences, and needed support and practical help when they returned. For those people and their families, life would never be the same again.


Civilians wanted to remember the people who had given their lives for peace and freedom. An American War Secretary, Moina Michael, was inspired by John McCrae’s poem, and sold poppies to raise money for the ex-Service community. And so the tradition began. In 1922 Major George Howson MC, who served in the First World War, founded the Disabled Society. He recognised unemployed ex-Service men could make artificial poppies and approached the Legion. He founded a small factory, which was later to become The Royal British Legion Poppy Factory.


The British Legion – now The Royal British Legion – was formed in 1921 from four separate ex-Service organisations. The first official Legion Poppy Day was held in Britain on 11 November 1921.


In Flanders’ fields the poppies blow Between the crosses, row on row


That mark our place: and in the sky The larks, still bravely singing, fly Scarce heard amid the guns below


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