Editor: A century of poppies and so much other important work

There are few single images which conjure up such strong emotion and power than our red poppies.

Monday, 17th May 2021, 6:45 am
Updated Monday, 17th May 2021, 9:44 am
Poppy appeal, traditional poppies

It is a beautiful flower but has come to mean much more than that thanks to a century of hard work helping others by the Royal British Legion

On 15 May, 1921, this extraordinary charity was formed - bringing together four national organisations of ex-servicemen that had established themselves to support those who had suffered during the battles of the First World War.

That so many people are still willing to donate and wear a poppy every year, let alone the wonderful folk who brave all weathers to distribute those red flowers, says everything.

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They won the hearts of ordinary people who could see the difference they made to the lives of those who had been injured fighting for others.

Today the Prince of Wales has hailed the Legion’s “constant” support of the Armed Forces community in a video message to celebrate the charity’s centenary.

At 9am, the will marks the exact moment of its formation 100 years ago with the laying of wreaths at the Cenotaph in London and across the UK.

Charles’s message commences the day’s celebrations, with the Duke of Cornwall telling the charity: “There are few organisations which hold a place at the heart of society in the way the RBL does.

“For one hundred years, the RBL has been a constant, through the annual Poppy Appeal, leading the nation in remembrance, and providing a life-long commitment to every veteran and their families.

“Therefore I wanted, above all, to offer my sincere and heartfelt gratitude to all those who have helped build this wonderful organisation we know today, and to all those who will be part of its future.”

Charles’s video will lead a wealth of tributes from service personnel and members of the Armed Forces community, as well as celebrity supporters including Ross Kemp and Stephen Fry.

The Legion’s director general, Charles Byrne, said: “In this, our centenary year, we are focussed firmly on our future. Our proud heritage and 100 years of experience supporting the Armed Forces community have built the strong foundations of an organisation fit for the next 100.”