Northern Ireland

News & Events - Past

National Conference - Bournemouth 2015

We are delighted to announce that Mrs Susan Parke, Cookstown Branch has won the National Standard Bearers Competition held on Tuesday 14th April  2015, in Bournmouth.  Susan came second last year and we were delighted when they announced  that she had won it this year, she once again did Northern Ireland proud.  It was especially nice as her Husband, Andrew and the RBL National Standard Bearer, Norman Espie had flown over to watch her compete, they also are so very proud of her.

Northern Ireland came second in the Eileen Edgar Trophy, this is in recognition for the highest donation per member to National Schemes, we have won this award for numerous years but only managed runner up this year, still an achievement.

Next years National Conference is to be held in Southport, twelve of us travelled to Bournemouth this year and we would encourage  members to attend as it is most enjoyable. We would travel on Monday 18th April 2016 returning on Friday 22nd  April.  I am currently looking for suitable accommodation for next year and travel options, we are thinking of hiring a coach,  so if you are interested in attending please contact me asap at mbeattie@britishlegion.org.uk.

Obituary – Mrs Doreen Flack

We lost a very dear friend in February of this year, Mrs Doreen Flack. 

Doreen had been the Northern Ireland Representative for Tyrone on District Committee for numerous years and was Chairman of NI Conference Committee and a NI Vice President. 

Those who had the privilege of knowing Doreen will tell you she always spoke her mind, if she had something to say, she would say it, that was one on the reasons she was so highly thought of. 

It was great to see so many of our Branches represented at her Funeral in her birth place, Coagh, our members turned out in force to pay their respects and for this we thank them.

Deepest sympathy to the Flack family, Doreen will be sorely missed by all who knew and loved her.

Annual Conference - Saturday 7th February 2015

We held our 85th Annual Conference in the Lough Shore Hotel (formerly the Clarion) on Saturday 7th February 2015.

Approximately 160 attended and we were delighted that several of our members from Southern Ireland joined us for the weekend. 

Our guest speakers were Mr Tony Wright, acting national secretary, and Reverend Charles McCartney.  Mrs Joan Parkinson conducted the short service. 

As Mrs Sheila Thompson was stepping down as Northern Ireland Chairman directly after Conference, we asked permission for the RBL National Standard and the RBL National Youth Standard to be on parade at Conference. 

The RBL National Chairman kindly granted permission and we were all delighted and honoured to have Norman Espie and Steven Parke with us on the day.  This was a special treat for  Sheila as she has given so much of her time over the years to Standard Bearers.  A massive thank you to our Standard Bearer, Susan for her role in the surprise and to Norman and Steven.  It was a lovely send off for Sheila.

Congratulations to our newly elected Chairman, Mrs Noell Crawford and Vice Chairman, Mrs Liz Bateman.






Afternoon Tea - 7th June 2014

A massive thank you to all our members who recently attended afternoon tea at the home of our President Mrs Joanne Andrew Steer MBE.  Although the weather was horrendous this did not dampen our spirits and we are delighted to report that a total of £1,301 was raised on the day.

Thank you also to the Northern Ireland District Committee who did the catering and looked after our members during the afternoon, not to mention the washing up once it was all over.

We must not forget our President, Joanne, who kindly opened her home to allow us to have the event, many thanks.

Thank you to Larne Women's Section from Broadways Nursing Home

Broadways nursing home, Larne would like to thank Annette Stynes and the ladies of Larne women’s section after several of their residents attended a tea dance on Saturday 24th May to commemorate the 100th anniversary of WW1.

Residents from various nursing homes in Larne were invited to attend and a wonderful day was had by all.

A big thank you to the Royal British Legion Women’s Section, Larne for a fantastic afternoon.

Annual Conference 2014

The 84th Annual District Conference of the Royal British Legion Women’s Section, Northern Ireland, was held in the Clarion Hotel on Saturday 8th February 2014.

Approximately 200 guests, visitors and Delegates attended and enjoyed an interesting and informative day.

The Service was conducted by Father Damian McCaughan, St Mary’s on the Hill, Carnmoney, Alderman Billy Ashe, Mayor of Carrickfergus welcomed the Women’s Section to the Borough and spoke of the forthcoming events taking place in Carrickfergus to mark the centenary of  WW1.

Mrs Brenda Hale MLA gave a most moving address, she spoke of her marriage to the late Captain Mark Hale, who sadly lost his life whilst serving in Afghanistan in 2009 and how she had to break the news to her two young daughters, everyone was extremely touched by her address for which she received a standing ovation.

Mrs Wendy Bromwich, National Chairman of the RBLWS also addressed Conference and gave members a much needed moral boost.

The Election of Officers and District Committee members took place and Mrs Noell Crawford, Portadown Branch was elected as NI Vice Chairman, it was confirmed that Mrs Sheila Thompson will represent Northern Ireland on Central Committee for the next three years.

Congratulations to Mrs Susan Parke, NI Standard Bearer and Mrs Joyce Kempton who recently retired as NI Deputy Standard Bearer, they were both presented with a National Merit Award and Certificate, well deserved.

On the previous evening, Friday 7th February, 70 guests and members enjoyed a pre-conference reception.  Anyone can attend this, so if you are interested in joining us next year just contact me on 028 90434730, it really is a great night, good company and dancing.

55 Years Service to the Poppy Appeal

Presentation to Mrs Taggart for 55 years service to the Poppy Appeal. Mrs Taggart was a founder member of Cavehill Women’s Section and carried the Standard for the Women’s Section for many years.

Womans Sections

Back row L to R, Mrs S Thompson, NI Chairman, Mrs S Parke, NI Standard Bearer, front row Mrs H Taggart and Mrs J Andrew Steer, NI President.

Enniskillen Women's Section 85th Anniversary

Enniskillen Women’s Section recently celebrated their 85th anniversary with a dinner held in the Mayfly Inn Kesh on the 18th June



Pearl Cathcart longest serving member 44 years


Violet Vennard (Chairman) Joyce Kempton 9Standard Bearer Shelia Thompson 9District C/man


Group of Branch members


Glynis Henry (Secretary) Violet Vennard (C/man) Elaine Van Tromp


Chairman with Branch members


Violet Vennard Chairman & Shelia Thompson  District Chairman Agnes McVicker Vice District Chairman and three former Branch Chairmen


Mrs Mabel Kathleen Twist MBE

A special Service of Thanksgiving was held on Saturday 7th December 2013 to celebrate the life of a very special lady, Mrs Kathleen Twist who sadly passed away a few months short of her 100th birthday.

She was the first woman in Northern Ireland to join the Auxiliary Territorial Service, the Women’s Branch of the British Army.  In 1941 Mrs Jean Knox, Chief Controller of the ATS in Britain said that Mrs Twist was the smartest woman in the organisation.

Mrs Twist was the President of the Royal British Legion Women’s Section Northern Ireland from 1993 until the reins were handed over to Viscountess Brookeborough.  She was a very active member within her Branch, Omagh, and a highly respected member of the local community.  She will be sorely missed by all those who were lucky enough to have known her.

Stormont Visit 2013

Following her attendance at our Annual Conference, Mrs Brenda Hale MLA kindly invited several of our members to a tour of Parliament Buildings followed by lunch.  The following members attended and thoroughly enjoyed the day, Mrs S Thompson (NI Chairman), Mrs E Bateman (Belfast Branch), Mrs V Wallace (Ballyclare Branch) Mrs A Stynes (Larne Branch), Mrs N Crawford (Portadown Branch), Mrs H Edgar (Dromore Branch) and Mrs P Clarke (Fivemiletown Branch).  We would like to thanks Brenda for the invitation and look forward to seeing more of her in the future.


First Minister Peter Robinson and Annette Stynes (Larne Branch)


(from left to right) V Wallace, L Bateman, H Edgar, Brenda Hale MLA, First Minister Peter Robinson, A Stynes, S Thompson, N Crawford and P Clarke


Sheila Thompson - Royal British Legion Women's Section NI Chairman

The Royal British Legion Women's Section Conference 2013

Approximately 200 people attended our District Conference on Saturday 2nd February in the Clarion Hotel, Carrickfergus.  Our Guest Speakers were Barbara Wilson and the National Vice Chairman, Marilyn Humphry, both were very interesting to listen to, Barbara spoke of her days in the UDR whilst Marilyn spoke of how she became involved with the RBLWS.  Barbara has written a book called 'A Quiet Courage' and sold quite a few at Conference; she gave a donation of £100 back to the WS which was greatly appreciated, I brought 30 copies back to the office but they have all sold, anyone wishing to purchase a copy please contact me.  On the previous evening we hosted a pre-conference reception, it was a most enjoyable evening and we would love to see more members attend this.

I would like to thank all those  members who made the effort to attend it was great to see so many familiar faces, some of whom had travelled a long distance,  at the end of the day it is a day for all members to get together and catch up.  A special thank you to the ladies from Southern Ireland for once again making the long journey.

Thank you also to all members who helped man tables, sell raffle tickets help set the Conference hall up, we simply could not manage without your support.

Finally, Mrs Brenda Hale MLA attended Conference and afterwards invited seven of our members to join her for lunch and a tour of Stormont, we were delighted to accept and on Monday 4th March, our Chairman, Mrs Sheila Thompson will accompany six of our members to Parliament Buildings.

   RBLWS Conference

RBLWS Conference_1

RBLWS Conference_2

RBLWS Conference_3

The Royal British Legion Women's Section Portrush

Celebrate 70 Years


The Royal British Legion Women's Section Portrush Branch held their 70 Anniversary celebrations in the Clubrooms of The Royal British Legion (from left to right above: Treasurer Mary Johnston, President Margaret McCullagh and Chairman Valerie Bailie).


To celebrate the occasion Mrs Alice Rodich made the cake in the above photo (from left to right above: Mrs Alice Rodich, Treasurer Mrs Mary Johnston, Chairman Mrs Valerie Bailie, Mrs Josie Crilly and Mrs Mary Millen).

21st December 2012

Women's Section Christmas Raffle


Congratulations to the following winners of the Christmas raffle:

Framed Cross Stitch Picture Jean Sloan, Larne
Framed Photograph & Bottle of Wine Sheila Gavan, Enniskillen
Voucher for Dobbies Garden Centre Maisie Taylor, Antrim
Homemade Christmas Cake Mary Henry, Ballymoney
Homemade Christmas Pudding Clara Casley, Antrim
Christmas Hamper Mary Math, Portrush
Handknit Blanket & Doll Aileen Lockhart, Enniskillen
Handmade Quilt Cover Eileen Matthews, Portstewart
Handknit Clown Denis Gault, Enniskillen
Handknit Doll Annette Baines, Enniskillen


Thank you to all those who sold raffle tickets and donated prizes.

The Royal British Legion Women's Section Girls Make Page 3!

Members of the Ballyclare Branch Women's Section, along with the district chairman, Mrs Sheila Thompson, appeared on page 3.  But don't worry, it was only the Ballyclare Gazette, not The Sun!

Mrs Thompson was opening Ballyclare's first ever poppy shop.  The shop was organised by the Poppy Appeal Organiser and Chairman of the Ballyclare Branch Women's Section, Mrs Violet Wallace, in Arlene's hair and beauty salon.

Arlene is the Branch Secretary and all members of staff in the salon are members of the branch.  This meant that the Poppy Shop could always be manned without having to find additional manpower.





Photographs from East Antrim Gazette, 8th November 2012