poppy field


February/March Newsletter 2021

Dear Member,

 Welcome to this the first newsletter of 2021 and Coronavirus continues to blight our lives, however it appears that there might be a light at the end of the tunnel with the publication of the roadmap out of lockdown, as you can imagine things are fairly quiet at the moment, but there are a few things to report and hopefully by the time that the next newsletter is published there will be a much more positive view for the future.

 Keep well and Stay Safe.

 In your newsletter this month we feature:


    • Renewal Information
  1. RBL 100th Birthday Celebrations
  2. County Event Calendar
  3. Poppy Appeal
    • Current Poppy Appeal Totals
    • Calendar of Events
  4. Annual Conference 2021
  5. Branch Community Support a message from our MSO – Sharon Turton
  6. Captain Sir Tom Moore – R.I.P.
  7. Almonisation
  8. Survey on Unpaid Carers in the Armed Forces Community
  9. Covid-19 and latest advice
  10. Around the Branches
    • Flitwick and District Branch



Renewal Information

Please note that general membership queries can usually be answered by our MSO.

style="color: red,">Please note that due to COVID-19 the Membership Applications department are still operating with a reduced service.

The opening hours are

Monday to Friday 9am to 5:30pm

They are no longer open at weekends.

Membership Helpline:

UK: 0800 307 7773 (free from UK landlines and main mobile networks)

Republic of Ireland: 1800 911 936 (free)

Overseas: +44 (0)207 191 1091 (full rate)


Membership Services email address: membershipservices@britishlegion.org.uk

Membership payments are divided into four parts:

  • Membership Fee - £17 from 1st  October. 
    Please note that for renewals from 1st April 2021 the fee will be increased to £18 as agreed at Annual Conference.
  • Branch fee (if applicable) – this is a fee set by the branch to support its running costs.
  • General fund donation – a voluntary donation used to support membership activities
  • Benevolent fund donation – a voluntary donation used to support our beneficiaries
The Legion strongly discourage members from using cheques this year due to the current Covid-19 pandemic. Contactless, automatic payment methods (such as card and Direct Debit payments) are much safer. Additionally, as we operate reduced service, cheque processing might take much longer than usual.

As Head Office remains closed, the Legion strongly advises against using land mail for applications as the delay in processing could be significant.


Every member should receive their membership card within approximately 10 working days of the payment being cleared by the bank,

 Unpaid members will receive a renewal reminder towards the end of November- this will include the lapsing date Please note that as per the Royal Charter, members must pay their fees within 3 months of their renewal date – if no payment is received, they will be removed from the membership lists. This means that all members whose renewal date is 1st October should pay their fees on or before 31st December 2020.

Please note that the mass lapsing of non-renewals is taking place very soon and any member that is 3 months or more overdue with their payment will no longer be a member.


 Should you require more information regarding this year’s renewal process, please contact your branch membership secretary who will have the full brief.


 RBL 100th Birthday Celebrations

Sadly, the event that was scheduled for Saturday 15th May is now Cancelled due to Coronavirus restrictions, however with the likelihood of restrictions being lifted later this year it is hoped that we might be able to hold a celebration of some sort, please watch this space for further updates.

Please note that any events are subject to government, local and RBL restrictions.


County Event Calendar - 2020




Poppy Appeal

Please see below the QR code that can be scanned using your mobile  phone or other suitable device, it will allow you to connect to the Legion secure website and donate to the Bedfordshire Poppy Appeal; you will need some form of QR code scanner and these are readily available to download to your device.

This QR code is still active and you can still donate to the appeal, the funds received from the main Poppy Appeal are very much down this year as expected, so every penny counts.

 Current Poppy Appeal Totals

National 2019/20             £44,180,209.13

Bedfordshire 2019/20      £383,558.97

National 2020/21             £14,081,972.04

Bedfordshire                         £121,322.62

 These figures were taken at 1417hrs on 10/02/2021.

 As to be expected both the national and Bedfordshire totals are down significantly due to the pandemic. Supermarket money is still be allocated to district and county totals. This is taking a lot longer as usual as the Aylesford administrators are only working with only half the staff and are currently working from home. Despite that this is still a great amount raised by our Poppy Appeal Organisers and their volunteers who The Royal British Legion relies on so much to deliver the Poppy Appeal every year and despite the pandemic those PAO’s who were able to, still risked their own health in delivering the 2020 Poppy Appeal something I think really shows the commitment of our volunteers.

These totals have been taken from the latest CFR report, however the latest figure shown in the Poppy Appeal newsletter states that the total Poppy Appeal income so far this year is £24 million, this is an indicator of just how much the RBL Poppy Appeal has been hit by the Coronavirus pandemic.


Calendar of Events




All events have been cancelled


Annual Conference 2021 (a message from the Chairman of the Conference Committee)

 Despite the challenges surrounding the pandemic, we remain committed to still holding Annual Conference this year while also prioritising the safety of our members. We are now pleased to inform you that Annual Conference will be held virtually on Saturday, 15th May 2021.  

 The format will enable attendees from all over the world to attend from the comfort of their home by simply watching the live streamed Annual Conference through an internet browser such as Microsoft Edge or Google Chrome. Similarly, to last year, attendees will have the opportunity to watch the National Chairman and Director General addressing members, a presentation of the Annual Report and Accounts and ask their questions as part of the Membership Forum. 

 Branch delegates will be able to discuss and vote on their motions prior to the start of conference. More details will be sent to the delegates after the closing date of registrations. 

 Register as a visitor:

To register as a visitor please use the online form on the main RBL website found here

Register as a Branch or County/District delegate: 


All Branches that are compliant are encouraged to register, virtually attend, and vote. If your Branch has already registered its delegates, you do not need to register again.


To register as a delegate please use the app found on the Membership Administration Portal (MAP) here


After registration has closed, all those who have successfully registered will receive an email with information about how you can attend and vote on motions. If you are unable to use the above online forms, please contact your local Membership Support Officer or the Annual Conference team at annualconference@britishlegion.org.uk

 Annual Conference 2022 

It is our hope that we are able to, once again, meet in person for Annual Conference 2022 at the Queen Elizabeth II Centre in London. We look forward to being able to participate in a full agenda and mark the first year of the next 100 years of the Royal British Legion. 

For any queries, please contact the team at annualconference@britishlegion.org.uk

Kind regards, 


Anny Reid 

Trustee and Chairman of the Conference Committee 


Branch Community Support (a message from our MSO)

After another 2 successful BCS Training sessions on 23/24 February with 24 participants, we are now offering a further 2 Evening sessions on Tuesday 16th and Wednesday 17th March between 7pm – 9pm. You will need to attend both sessions and do 3 short online courses in GDPR, Safeguarding and Lone working. It sounds more onerous than it actually is.

Branch Community Support is growing, and more and more Branches are realising the importance of this activity in their communities. There is a misconception about it being a tool for Haig House to keep their eye on Branches and use it to make themselves look better.

That is so untrue. It is so that you Branch Officers, Members and Volunteers can show that you are an active Branch and for ‘you’ to get recognition for things that so many of you already do and have done for years. It is a way of you telling us about it and getting recognition for what you do.

It is an activity for Branches to reach out further into their communities and to help the people local to you who the Royal British Legion should be helping. Sometimes the first step in helping someone is a simple step that many are afraid to take. Not everyone needs financial help or medical help. Sometimes all a person needs is someone else to talk to.

Many people have been impacted by the pandemic and are suffering from Social Isolation and Loneliness. The BCS Telephone buddies have made over 55,000 phone calls during the last 11 months. By being a telephone buddy, many people have 

felt more comfortable about talking about other issues they may be having, and these have been raised by the telephone buddy to our contact centre. From this process, many beneficiaries are now getting assistance in other areas. If that telephone buddy had not made the initial call, we may never have been aware of the beneficiaries needs as many are too proud to ask.

If you are interested in finding out more about Branch Community Support or would like to be registered for BCS and get trained, please do come along on the 16th and 17th March.

Take the first step – email me with your interest and I will add you to the Course in March 😊

Stay Safe

Kind Regards

Sharon Turton

Membership Support Officer

Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire


Captain Sir Tom Moore – R.I.P


For millions trapped at home, Captain Sir Tom was a much-needed symbol of defiance, national unity, and hope.

"Please remember," he said repeatedly, "tomorrow will be a good day." The money flooded in.

As Captain Sir Tom turned to complete his final lap, the total stood at more than £12m. It would eventually surpass £30m. An honour guard from his old regiment saluted an extraordinary achievement.

 Captain Sir Tom died on 2nd February 2021 and was cremated at a small family funeral on Saturday 27th February 2021.

Soldiers of the Yorkshire Regiment carried Captain Sir Tom's coffin into the crematorium as a C-47 Dakota, part of the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight, performed a flypast.



Each month the County Committee are notified of welfare cases within our area and are asked to contribute towards the cost of these, below are the cases that have been notified this month and I invite you to contact your Branch Committee and suggest to them that they might wish to make a contribution towards the cost of any that are within your Branch area, this is a good use of your Branch funds.

To avoid duplication of donations towards  almonisation cases it would be appreciated if Branches would send cheques to the County Treasurer detailing the case number and the amount donated to each case, these donations will then be taken into account when the County Committee deliberates on the almonisation amounts.

 If you want a receipt for the cheque, you must ask for this to be supplied when you send the cheque.

 When you have sent your cheque, please send an email to the County Community Support Representative at Sandy.Chairman@RBL.Communty detailing the case number and the amount, this will make the review process simpler.

Recently there have been no new cases notified to County.


Survey on Unpaid Carers in the Armed Forces Community

The PAPP team (in partnership with Admiral Nurses) is carrying out research into the experiences of unpaid carers in the Armed Forces community.

Previous RBL research shows that unpaid caring disproportionately affects the ex-Service community. RBL and Poppyscotland are running a short anonymous public survey, the findings of which will feed into a research report exploring the experiences of members of the Armed Forces community who provide unpaid care (both Serving and ex-Serving) and considering ways they think the support they receive could be improved.

If you provide unpaid care in this capacity, please use the link above to complete the survey. 

Covid-19 & Latest Advice

 Summary of Roadmap out of Lockdown

Before taking each step of the lockdown roadmap, the government will review infection data, as well as ensuring that: 

  • the vaccine deployment is continuing successfully.
  • evidence continues to indicate that vaccines are successfully lowering deaths and hospitalisations.
  • infection rates do not threaten to overwhelm the NHS.
  • new variants of the virushave not changed the risk to the public.

8 March:

Schools and colleges to reopen to students. Recreational activities such as picnics permitted outside with own household or one other person, but restrictions on international travel to continue and holidays not permitted reason to travel. Funerals capped at 30 people, with weddings and wakes capped at six. 

 29 March: 

No more than six people or two full households allowed to meet outdoors, although organised sport permitted outside. Guidance remains to “minimise travel”.

 12 April: 

All retail allowed to reopen. Gyms also allowed to reopen, though only for individuals working out alone. All children’s activities open, and outdoor hospitality may resume. Domestic overnight stays allowed but must be restricted to single households.

 17 May: 

Maximum of 30 people allowed to meet up outside. Indoors, “rule of six” applies or two households allowed to mix. Indoor hospitality also to reopen, along with indoor entertainment and attractions, and indoor sport permitted. International travel to be allowed (subject to review). 

Events celebrating “significant life events” allowed with up to 30 guests, indoor events extend to 1,000 people or 50% capacity, outdoor seated events 10,000 or 25% capacity, and other outdoor events 4,000 or 50% capacity.

21 June:

Legal limits on social contact ends. All businesses (including nightclubs) may reopen, international travel permitted, and no caps on celebrations and large events.

Remember to follow the common advice.
  • Wear face coverings while travelling on public transport
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use an alcohol-based hand sanitiser; this is particularly important after taking public transport
  • Use an alcohol-based hand sanitiser that contains at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available
  • Always carry tissues with you to cover your cough or sneeze, then throw the tissue in a bin
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces in the home and work environment
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands
  • Avoid close contact with people who are unwell.


Around the Branches

 This is where your Branch can have their say and let others know what you are doing.

Flitwick and District Branch

Like most people around the country our Members tell us, when we do the Buddy Calls, that they are staying in and staying safe.  Some Members have taken up new hobbies like knitting but at this time of the year they are missing their gardens.  Another hobby on the up is doing puzzles!

 As far as the Branch is concerned, we took the opportunity of our Hall being closed to have the interior painted in the autumn. However, we have also had to deal with a problem there.   Due to the damp and cold weather and the lack of use of the Hall, the wooden block flooring started to come up and was a hazard. Unfortunately, this is not the first time that this has happened, and we had to decide whether to replace like for like or do something different.  In the end we felt it was wise to replace the flooring completely.  After all the wooden blocks were taken up and floor cleaned of the tar, it was sanded, and latex laid to take the industrial level vinyl flooring.  Below are before and after photos.   


We have plans to mark the occasion of the 100th Anniversary of the RBL with a Parade at the War Memorial and a celebration afterwards at the Hall for which we have been allocated a grant from the Co-Operative Community Fund.  Whether we will be able to do so on the actual date will depend upon the guidelines we must follow but if not, it will hopefully happen sometime this year.

 As Chairman I am now booked on a Community Support Course being held virtually on the 22nd and 23rd February and hope we will be able to use the information gained to help any Members for which this is appropriate.

 Finally, our Branch Secretary who likes to write short stories and poetry has produced one about the lockdown situation.

 Michael Conley Hook


Flitwick and District Branch


by Carol Carter

 When we started 2020 we had no idea

The world would be turned upside down

Or how we would end the year.


So much had to be postponed

And moved to new dates in the next year

Our patience skills are now well honed


Lockdown blues have affected us all

Not seeing or hugging loved ones

Has made so many of our tears fall


But there are many things to take our time

gardening, sewing, jigsaws, baking,

old films on tv and writing silly rhyme


Helping us in so many ways

Are national and local heroes

What they do we appreciate every day


The loss of so many to the virus

Has saddened all of our hearts

Learning the lessons is really desirous


Lockdown is back as 2021 starts

Businesses closing and jobs are lost

This situation breaks all of our hearts


We must take more care and stop the surges

Of more victims of Covid around the country

We hope that sense will prevail and curb the urges


Much as we want to party or go for a trip

We must use our sense and stay safe

And make the Covid numbers permanently dip


With the promise of vaccine being soon rolled out

We can look forward to spring

If the outcome as promised is not in doubt


However In a way not seen for some years

People are caring about people

Which we hope will continue after the tears