Wed, 03 Feb 2021
The UK Defence Attache to Israel lays a wreath at the grave of Private HJ SMith, killed in Palestine in 1918
THE Kingsclere Royal British Legion (RBL) has been awarded a special certificate in honour of its work within the community.
The branch was awarded the Hampshire RBL Chairman’s Certificate at the Hampshire County RBL Conference, for its outstanding efforts over the past year.
This certificate is only awarded to one branch each year across the whole of Hampshire, which comprises more than 40 branches, and it factors in what a branch does within a community and its contributions to wider county business.
Despite the coronavirus pandemic limiting activities, Kingsclere RBL still arranged a few key initiatives within the community.
Firstly, it organised Operation Blanket, whereby members of the legion and others crocheted more than 60 square blankets for senior citizens in the village – helping keep people busy during the darker hours of lockdown.
The RBL also took donations from the village community and made around 50 Christmas boxes to be sent to British military serving overseas, bringing cheer to those not able to come home for the festive season.
It also organised Operation Distant Shores, an initiative where members of the legion looked at the countries in which the soldiers on the town’s memorial had been killed in action and then liaised with the British embassies in those countries and arranged for wreaths to be laid at their war graves.
Wreaths were laid in Israel, Iraq, Turkey and Germany.
Kingsclere RBL chairman Mark Holden said being recognised at county level had been a great boost to the branch.
He said: “We decided early on during lockdown that the British Legion and the village could really lean into the community and help people and add some value where we could.
“It’s a massive team effort by the whole branch, so it’s great to get positive feedback and appreciation for what the branch has done.
“It’s a great boost to the morale of the branch as a whole, to get some recognition for the branch at county level.
“It encourages us to do more and keep the work going and support the community as we can.
“Without the community, the British Legion doesn’t have anything.
“We support the community and they support us.”
This year will be the Royal British Legion’s 100th anniversary and Mr Holden said the Kingsclere branch had lots of activities planned – lockdown permitting.
He continued: “As it’s the centenary, we’re looking to do some sort of event in Easter if we can.
“We have a number of events planned around the Battle of Britain Day and hopefully support the Crown pub, and hopefully in summer we can have an open day.
“We also have the branch anniversary for 2022, so there’s work to do for that.”