Harborough’s Royal British Legion leaders will lay a wreath in the town centre to mark their centenary
"We are very proud but humbled at the same time to be celebrating our 100th year" said the chairman of the RBL’s Market Harborough branch
Market Harborough’s Royal British Legion leaders are to lay a wreath in the town centre on Saturday (May 15) to mark the 100th anniversary of their world-famous organisation.
Stewart Harrison the chairman of the RBL’s Market Harborough branch, will carry out the poignant ceremony at the town’s war memorial with new branch president Barbara Johnson.
Today Stewart, 74, said: “We will be laying a wreath at our sacred memorial in the town centre to commemorate our centenary.
“It’s a magnificent milestone.
“And we are very proud but humbled at the same time to be celebrating our 100th year.
“Throughout our rich history the Royal British Legion’s work has left a deep-rooted legacy for generations to come.
“Our unique organisation has helped to care and look after hundreds of thousands of former servicemen and women and their families all over the country since we were set up way back in 1921,” said Stewart, who served in both the Army and the RAF.
“All of us in the Royal British Legion are still as dedicated as ever to carrying out our mission of creating better futures for all those who have served and continue to serve with our fantastic armed forces.”
The veteran ex-serviceman said the RBL was founded three years after the end of the First World War in 1918 to “fight for the rights of those who had given so much and who came back to so little”.
“The Great War was our bloodiest war ever.
“Almost 900,000 soldiers, sailors and airmen from Great Britain and the Empire were killed in the war,” said Stewart, who lives on Market Harborough’s Southern Estate.
“The Legion was formed to help support their families as well as getting behind those servicemen who survived and came home,” said Stewart.
“They were often injured and mentally traumatised – and needed all the help they could get.
“We have been there for the families of all those servicemen and women killed in the Second World War – and who were lost in the many conflicts around the world since.
“Some 100 years after being launched we continue to stand shoulder to shoulder with the Armed Forces community.
“The Legion works round the clock to support them throughout their journeys and their lives.
“We are here to challenge injustices head on to make sure that all those who have served - and made the ultimate sacrifice on our behalf - get the best treatment and the recognition that they deserve.”
The RBL has always been supported by an extensive network of volunteers, members, fundraisers and partner organisations.
“They all share our immense passion for bringing people together to support, commemorate and celebrate our Armed Forces community,” insisted Stewart.
“An enormous amount of hours have been spent over many, many years with volunteers helping to collect during Remembrance at our annual Poppy Appeal.
“The Royal British Legion would like to offer our sincere gratitude to every single person who has sold or bought a poppy or contributed towards our iconic appeal over many decades.
“Without their support we would not be reaching this milestone year.
“Over the years the Royal British Legion has evolved and adapted.
“We have had to do that to be able to respond quickly and effectively to the changing needs of the Armed Forces Community while reflecting modern-day society in which we play such a critically important role.
“As we face up to our next 100 years and our next chapters in our historic story we are inviting a new generation to be a key part of our future and help continue our vital work.”
If you would like to find out more about the Royal British Legion’s work in Market Harborough and get involved supporting the Poppy Appeal or becoming a member of the local branch, please contact Stewart on 07835 738921.