poppy field


June Newsletter 2021

Dear Member,

Firstly, I apologise for the delay in creating this newsletter, but with things beginning to open more and a few events starting to be planned, I hope that future newsletters will be more frequent.

 As stated above it is very encouraging to see that some of the restrictions imposed with regards to Coronavirus are being lifted and hopefully all restrictions will, still, be lifted on 21st June, but this is in no way guaranteed and I urge all of you not to jump the gun, wait for these to be announced and reiterated by the RBL.

Keep well and Stay Safe.

In your newsletter this month we feature:

  1. Membership
    • Renewal Information
  2. RBL 100th Birthday Celebrations
  3. County Event Calendar
  4. Poppy Appeal
    • Current Poppy Appeal Totals
    • Calendar of Events
  5. Report on Virtual Annual Conference 2021
  6. Branch Community Support
  7. Unveiling of Commemorative Bench in Memory of Captain Sir Tom Moore
  8. Almonisation
  9. Remembrance Special Circular 2021 - Festival of Remembrance
  10. Cenotaph Ceremony
  11. Armed Forces – Flag Raising – Monday 21st June 2021
  12. The Great Poppy Party
  13. Covid-19 and latest advice
  14. Around the Branches
    • Flitwick and District Branch



Renewal Information

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

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 - £18 from 1st April 2021.

  • 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.

A renewal reminder will be sent to members a month or two before their membership is due, explaining their current renewal method and detailing the options available.

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 a month or two after their renewal date - 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.Should you require more information regarding this year’s renewal process, please contact your branch membership secretary.


RBL 100th Birthday Celebrations

As restrictions start to be lifted, more and more Branches will be planning 100th Birthday celebrations and I urge you to look at the RBL website to find out what is going on.

Locally the planned “Poppies at the Mill” music festival is going ahead on 21st August 2021 at Jordan’s Mill, Biggleswade, commencing at 10:00. This is of course subject to any ongoing restrictions.

Cheryl Watkins of the Sandy and District Branch is currently looking for volunteers to assist with the on the day preparations and collections etc. for the Poppy Appeal, if you can help in this way, please contact Cheryl on 07894 345434.

Please see the, first cut, poster opposite and as and when more information is available this will be issued to Branches via this newsletter or by E-mail.



If your Branch is planning any 100th Birthday celebrations, please contact me at the address at the end of this newsletter and I will ensure that it is in the next edition.


County Event Calendar - 2021

As restrictions start to be lifted it is hoped that events will start to be planned, but for the moment nothing is confirmed.



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.

Poppy Appeal Totals National & Bedfordshire

Bedfordshire 2019/2020 £383,558.97

Bedfordshire 2020/2021 £170,810.66

National: 2019/20 £44,180,209.13

National 2020/21 £17,150,536.91

The total so far for the 2020/2021 Poppy Appeal is to be expected lower than previous years. Income raised by contactless machines and supermarkets have now been credited to districts within Bedfordshire. Cash collections have now been counted and banked. These figures were taken on 11/05/2021 at 0916hrs.

Calendar of Events




Poppy Appeal National Launch


Private Property Collections can start (with owners’ permission e.g., supermarkets

30/10/2021 – 13/11/2021

Poppy Appeal Street Collection


London Poppy Day


Regional City Poppy Days


Armistice Day


Remembrance Sunday



Report on Virtual Annual Conference 2021

 An interesting address by Prince Charles on the 100 years of the RBL.

It is hoped that future conferences will be as normal but there may be zoom or similar as well so that more members can observe conference.

The Director General gave some interesting information about the Poppy Appeal and membership. 

Poppy Appeal down by some £20.000.000 to £143.000.000 but the RBL still spent some £129.000.000 on welfare. 

 The RBL persuaded the government to include in the National Census a question about Military Service.

RNIB was investigated by the Charity Commission and the RNIB governance was found at fault the result was the Charity Commission is writing to all major Charities to revisit their governance to ensure it is correct, therefore there may be changes to our governance.

 MOTION 1     This conference requests the RBL to urgently look at family membership.

             Motion carried 210 for 32 against.

 MOTION 2     This conference requests the RBL to implement a minimum 3 year served on County Committee for any member to take on the role as Membership Council Representative.

             Motion carried 187 for 52 against.

 MOTION 3     This conference requests that as matter of priority the Board of Trustees authorise a feasibility study to assess the cost effectiveness of decentralising the administrative and operations currently located at Haig House.  Operations pointed out that staff are based in other offices notably Birmingham and Manchester.

             Motion carried 132 for 111 against.

MOTION 4     This conference recommends that the ability to abstain when placing a vote at National Conference be removed from the ballot.

            Motion carried 142 for 98 against.

MOTION 5     The RBL adopts a policy where welfare grants for goods and services already purchased can be made retrospectively.

            Motion carried 148 for 93 against.

Membership Forum.

38,000 members were lost last year, the hope is that when clubs reopen the membership will increase.

RBL uniform must be worn by Standard Bearers; Corps or Regimental Beret or Cap Badge is not allowed.

Remembrance Parade, the organisation will be the same as last year. We do not have primary responsibility for the parade.

There are discussions about County Offices but no decision yet, but MSO’s will stay no matter what decision is made.

The RBL believe that welfare money is more effectively spent directly on individuals, rather than the cost of having Break Centres.

It is up to individuals if they wish to be known as Chairman or Chair.

Small Branch Dispensation Return if a branch has: 

          Less than £500 expenditure.

          Less than £500 income.

           Less than £5,000

held on account then no independent audit is required.


          Haig Cup to Alicante Branch.

          Maurice Cup: Winner Essex County.

                    Runner up Suffolk County.

           McCrae Shield to Alicante Branch

 Thank you to Colin Baker, Sandy and District Branch for this report

Annual Conference 2022 

It is our hope that we can, 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

 Branch Community Support

Sharon Turton has held the latest training sessions on Tuesday 1st & Thursday 3rd June and there were 10 candidates.

I will be contacting all Branches in the next few weeks to offer BCS Awareness sessions, this is not the training that is offered by Sharon but gives an overview of what BCS is and why your Branch should be involved, I am happy to make these presentations either to individual Branches or to groups.

We have a total of only 9 Branches out of 22 on MAP that have registered for BCS and only 7 of these are showing as active, however only 2 Branches have submitted activity reports; the Legion cannot see the amount of work that you and your Branch are doing if you do not submit these reports.

If you would like to book an awareness session, please contact me at the address below.

Roger Sparks

Bedfordshire CCSR

Email:  Bedfordshire.CCSC@RBL.community


Unveiling of Commemorative Bench in Memory of Captain Sir Tom Moore

These photographs were taken and provided courtesy of Andy Buckley MVCRP

I was delighted to be asked to attend the unveiling of a commemorative bench in memory of Captain Sir Tom Moore on 27th May at Millbrook Station.  The bench was commissioned by the Marston Vale Community Rail Partnership and state in their Press Release “The bench is intended to both recognise Captain Tom’s achievement in raising over £38 million for NHS Charities Together and the sacrifice of all those who lost their lives fighting in the First and Second World Wars and subsequent conflicts with a particular focus on the often-forgotten Burma campaign.”

Stephen Sleight, Marston Community Rail Partnership Officer, opened the event by saying that it was a great privilege to welcome Hannah Ingram-Moore to Millbrook Station to unveil this stunning bench.  

Captain Tom was such an inspiration to the whole country, and he was delighted there is a permanent reminder of him at a station he knew well.  Stephen thanked the company Roll & Scroll Ltd who designed and made the bench and thanked CRP colleague Andy Buckley for coming up with the idea for the bench and Friends of Millbrook Station for their dedicated voluntary work in transforming the appearance of the station over the last ten years. The bench had been funded by Marston Vale CRP with a contribution from Marston Moreteyne Parish Council.

Personally, I feel that not only was Captain Sir Tom Moore an inspiration during the period when we needed a national hero, but also that he represented all that is noble about our service people especially in times of conflict.

I was privileged to help with the unveiling of the bench and Hannah said that she was incredibly proud to reveal this beautiful memorial bench for her father Captain Sir Tom Moore at Millbrook Station. 

Eric E Robinson MBE

County President

Royal British Legion




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 contribute towards the cost of any that are within your Branch area, this is a good use of your Branch funds.

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

Due to system changes, there have been no new cases notified to County.



Membership Ticketing

The Royal British Legion Festival of Remembrance will be held in the Royal Albert Hall, London on Saturday 13 November 2021 with performances at 2.00pm and 7.00pm.

On 14 September, tickets will go on sale for the evening performance. Members will be able to purchase tickets for the afternoon performance on 21 September, which will be at least one week prior to them becoming available to the public.

Standard Bearers

Branch Standard Bearers, including those from overseas, who wish to participate in the Muster at the Festival, should express their interest to their Membership Support Officer by 23 July. Membership Support Officers must then submit these details by 30 July.


On Sunday 14 November 2021, the National Service of Remembrance will be held at the Cenotaph on Whitehall in London.


Please be advised that we are working towards achieving a fully realised Festival of Remembrance & Cenotaph Dispersal on Remembrance Sunday.

We are continuing to follow government advice for mass gatherings and the health and safety of our participants remains our priority. Any updates will be communicated via our website and membership communication channels.



Central Bedfordshire Council application deadline to attend the event has now closed, but there will be a flag raising ceremony at Chicksands. This will include COVID-19 restrictions so if you have not confirmed your attendance before the deadline, it is now too late.

Bedford Borough Council have restricted attendance at their Flag Raising due to COVID-19 regulations. Therefore no Standard Bearers are requested to attend.

The Great Poppy Party

As we are hoping to come out of lockdown restrictions in June, have you thought about holding any events?

Here is a little idea to hold an event and fundraise with ‘The Great Poppy Party’. Follow the link and claim your free fundraising pack today.

 The Great Poppy Party| RBL 100 Centenary Events | Royal British Legion


Covid-19 & Latest Advice

Summary of Roadmap out of Lockdown

There will be a four-week pause at Step 3. Step 3 restrictions remain in place, and you should follow the guidance on what you can and cannot do.

It is expected that England will move to Step 4 on 19 July, though the data will be reviewed after 2 weeks in case the risks have reduced.

You can socialise indoors in a group of up to 6 people or 2 households, including for overnight stays. Up to 30 people can meet outside.

The Delta COVID-19 variant (first discovered in India) is spreading in England.

Remember to follow the common advice. 
  • 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.

Marston Moreteyne War Memorial Centenary

Our War Memorial was unveiled on 13th March 1921, when a large crowd of parishioners and friends were present to see His Grace the Duke of Bedford, supported by the Rev. A R Johnson, Rev. R N Wycherley, W T Garrett, Col F A D Stevens, and Mr G E Brown perform the ceremony.

The service began with the hymn ‘O God our help in ages past’, the Rev. A R Johnson took the service assisted by Rev. R N Wycherley. A roll call of the 43 servicemen from the village who had sadly died in the 1st World War was read by the Rev A R Johnson and he offered a commendatory prayer for the fallen and prayers for the mourners.

 His Grace the Duke of Bedford, after unveiling the memorial, said that the invitation to him was a great honour, the hymn ‘Safe home, safe home in port’ was sung, followed by the last post. The National Anthem brought the service to a close.

After the 2nd World War, a further 11 names of the fallen from that conflict were added to the memorial.

 Marston Moreteyne War Memorial is still a focal point of the village, and each year in 

November the Remembrance Day Service attracts large crowds, including cadets, scouts, guides etc from the younger generations. The village school has provided art works for the site which has been appreciated by all.

The Marston Moreteyne Parish Council Chairman, Cllr Hugh Roberts, was arranging a centenary ceremony based on the original service with the Duke of Bedford attending but due to Covid restrictions this was not possible.  The Parish Council wished to mark this occasion and decided to install a Silent Soldier at the War Memorial.  RBL County President Eric Robinson MBE very kindly assisted in obtaining the Silent Soldier.

Grateful thanks go to Joan Clarke, who has a close association with the Marston Moreteyne Branch of the RBL, for the historical information and to Derek Moore for the photograph.

 Carol Carter, Secretary of the Flitwick and District RBL Branch and Councillor - Marston Moreteyne Parish Council