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Mayor honours Royal British Legion centenary

News release 9940, published on 17 May 2021
Members of all four Royal British Legion branches from Basingstoke and Deane raised their standards at a special celebration to mark 100 years of the organisation.

The Mayor of Basingstoke and Deane Cllr Diane Taylor welcomed representatives from Basingstoke and Overton, Old Basing & District, Bramley and District and Tadley & District branches at the war memorial outside the Civic Offices on Saturday 15 May.

After a socially distanced outdoor reception and a speech given by Cllr Taylor, all four standards were displayed on parade together. In attendance were Bramley President Tony Evans, Tadley Chairman Walter Langer, Old Basing Chairman Ian Greenway and Basingstoke and Overton President David Buttle.

The event commemorated the founding of the Royal British Legion in 1921 to act as a voice for the ex-service community of that day because of the legacies of the Great War. This merged members of four wartime associations - The National Association of Discharged Sailors and Soldiers, The British National Federation of Discharged and Demobilised Sailors and soldiers, The Comrades of the Great War and The Officer’s Association.

The Royal British Legion is the UK's leading armed forces charity and one of its largest membership organisations. Nationally today, over 450,000 members get together through the network of branches and clubs all over the country and overseas to participate in social, fundraising and welfare activities.

It provides financial, social and emotional care and support to all members of the British Armed Forces - past and present and their families. The Legion is also the national Custodian of Remembrance and safeguards the Military Covenant between the nation and its Armed Forces and is best known for the annual Poppy Appeal.

The Basingstoke branch was established on 1 July 1921 and the Overton branch was set up in 1922 – they amalgamated in 1966. The Old Basing & District branch came into force in 1921 and the Bramley and District branch was established in 1930 and merged with Sherborne St John and Stratfield Saye in 2016. The Tadley & District branch was founded in 1925.

Her Majesty The Queen is patron of the British Legion, bestowing the title of Royal into its name in 1971.

Cllr Taylor, accompanied by her Consort Dr Andy Taylor, paid tribute to all Royal British Legion members for their fundraising efforts and support for those members of the Armed Forces, past and present, who are in need.

She said: “The borough is very fortunate in having four very dedicated branches of the Royal British Legion working to support others in the community and providing wonderful comradeship to each other.

“The Royal British Legion is a national treasure and we are proud to mark its centenary with the socially distanced attendance of all four borough branches and their standards at the War Memorial.

“Legion members ensure that Remembrance is kept alive and that the sacrifices our brave Service men and women have made are never forgotten.”

ENDS

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