Knaresborough Branch of the Royal British Legion to mark the Royal British Legion’s 100th birthday

On Saturday, 15 May, the Knaresborough Branch of the Royal British Legion, along with Branches around the UK and beyond will mark the Royal British Legion’s 100th birthday.

One hundred years of service to the Armed forces community is a remarkable achievement and it comes at a time when the country may just be emerging from what has been a terrible period, due to the worldwide Coronavirus pandemic.

Despite the challenges of the lockdowns, the RBL’s 2020 Poppy Appeal has so far managed to raise £24 million.

Harrogate Borough Council has dedicated a large flowerbed in the Knaresborough castle-grounds.

The Knaresborough Branch approached Harrogate Borough Council over 2 years ago to discuss the options for the flowerbed and Sue Wood from the Parks Department worked with the Branch to create the design which was planted out in the autumn of 2020 by James Howitt and Martyn Spence.

A total of 4000 plants were used in the flowerbed including 3,900 polyanthus in red, white and blue and some black grass for the centre of the poppies.

 

Alan Pitchfork, Knaresborough Branch Chair, thanked the new Mayor for his support and the Council for marking the centenary in this way.

Alan Pitchfork, Knaresborough Branch Chair said:

The Legion was as important now as it was 100 years ago.  Not only does the Legion look after those serving in the armed forces but also ex-service men and women and their families; almost 1 in 6 of the UK population.

Throughout the last 100 years service men and women had served their country and in many cases this had left them scarred for life, both physically and mentally with many more losing their lives for the freedoms we enjoy today.

At one time only those who had served in the armed forces were able to join the RBL but times have changed and the Legion now welcomes anyone who wishes to help the charity in its work.

Sadly, there are now just a handful of active members in the Knaresborough Branch, despite previous calls for new members.

Alan Pitchfork, Knaresborough Branch Chair said:

Knaresborough townsfolk generously raise around £30,000 each year during the Legion’s Poppy appeal but for the Branch to keep functioning we do need more people to join.

The fear also is that soon there simply will not be enough members to sustain the Branch which would mean retiring the Standard and an end to the Parade through the town on Remembrance Sunday.

The Branch says they recognise that the lockdowns may have caused some financial pressures on people and families, so even if the annual membership of £18 is unaffordable at this time any help, especially around the Poppy appeal, would be appreciated.

The Branch already has further plans in place for this centenary year including the return of it’s pop-up market stall and also the knitted poppy tribute at Knaresborough Castle this autumn.

In the meantime, the Branch thanks the townsfolk for their year-on-year support of the Poppy appeal and hopes that all remain safe and well as we emerge from the pandemic.



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