Work of British Legion goes on all year round
FOR those of my generation, it is hard to imagine the horror of the two world wars. Next Tuesday marks the 90th anniversary of the end of the First World War, which resulted in 40 million casualties worldwide, and since then we have had the Second World W
FOR those of my generation, it is hard to imagine the horror of the two world wars.
Next Tuesday marks the 90th anniversary of the end of the First World War, which resulted in 40 million casualties worldwide, and since then we have had the Second World War, in which 70 million people died.
This Sunday is Remembrance Sunday, with ceremonies in honour of our fallen heroes taking place at war memorials in Royston and surrounding villages such as Odsey, Steeple Morden, and Guilden Morden.
At the heart of these, and other remembrance services around the country, is the Royal British Legion.
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The Royston branch has been running in the town for 80 years, and this year members have been as busy as ever, both in organising the remembrance service and parade in the town, and in running poppy collections.
But after the weekend's activities, the Legion will not be battening down the hatches until 2009. Far from it in fact.
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One of its mottos is "remember the dead, but don't forget the living", and throughout the year it provides assistance to current and ex-servicemen who have seen action in campaigns such as The Falklands and Borneo, and in more recent conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Chris Murphy, from the Royston branch of the Royal British Legion, says: "The work of the Legion is a 365-day-a-year job. For the Royston Branch to continue its work, in the way it has done for the last 80 years, depends on the support of the local community."
It is sad then that Chris reports a downturn in support for the Legion, and its social club, in Mill Road, Royston.
At the moment a team of members and tradesmen are giving up their time to renovate the club free of charge, and make it a more attractive proposition for visitors.
But they can only do so much on their own, and once they are finished, I believe it is critical that the people of Royston get behind what is one of the town's longest-running institutions.
Many of us - myself included - will tend to be satisfied with ourselves once we've carried out a good deed.
We'll buy a poppy, or stick a quid in a collection box, or support an event during the upcoming Children in Need appeal, then be content that we've "done our bit" for charity until the next year.
But it is worth remembering that groups like the British Legion aren't just active once a year.
They keep going all year round, and as such they need our help all year round.
It is admirable that we continue to do so much to remember those who have made the ultimate sacrifice for us in the past.
But if we are to pay the same respect to those who will serve this country in the future, it is vital that we get behind organisations such as the Royal British Legion, so that they can continue their excellent work.