Keeping up standards
Community group of the month: The Royal British Legion Brittany branch
THE Royal British Legion provides financial, social and emotional support to those who have served or are currently serving in the Armed Forces, as well as their dependants.
How long has the group been in existence?
On June 29, 2006, 11 people met at Le Petit Tonneau Bar in Rohan to discuss launching a Brittany branch of the Royal British Legion. On July 27 of that year, the branch was registered by the Royal British Legion London, and under French law, as a charitable association. Money was raised to purchase a standard and a dedication ceremony took place on March 14, 2008 at La Chapelle de la Maison-Mère à Ploërmel.
What benefits does membership bring?
The branch offers current and ex-service personnel, their dependants and others a chance to get together and share experiences, friendship and support. Being expats, everyone is able to share their knowledge and skills about living in a new country. Our welfare officers and case-workers are fully trained and cover all of Brittany, not an easy task.
The branch has numerous events for the members and guests and they are always well attended. We have 160 English-speaking members, some of whom are French.
How often do you meet?
Once a month, there is a lunchtime social meeting at Relais de L’Oust in Josselin, with a fun quiz, a raffle and the sale of books and bric-a-brac. Members and guests are kept up to date with all branch and committee activities. Normally there are 75-95 members and guests.
What activities do you have planned?
Other events planned for this year are a Saint Patrick’s Day lunch, a pistol shoot at Eurotir22, an afternoon tea with a silent promise, troc et puce, VE-Day picnic, a garden party to celebrate the RBL’s 90th anniversary, VJ-Day and a bikers’ poppy dash to Porcaro to join 20,000 bikers from all over the world.
What does the group do?
We represent the RBL throughout Brittany and northern France with our ceremonial events. Our standard will be on parade (wreaths will also be laid) at Saint-Nazaire on March 28 and June 17; at Saint-Marcel on May 8; at Brest on July 1; at Reguiny on August 15; at Lanester on November 1; and at Rennes on November 11. Previously, the standard was paraded at the last two festivals of remembrance at the Royal Albert Hall in London.
The branch’s core activity is raising funds through the annual Poppy Appeal. During the year, special events are organised to raise money solely for the Poppy Appeal Fund and last year a record €9,053 was raised and sent to Royal British Legion headquarters in London. Theme events such as "Dad’s Army" have had all the members dressing up for the occasion in suitable attire.
Whom should readers call for info?