Royal British Legion centenary: South Shields members mark 100 years of supporting the armed forces community
The Legion was formed in the aftermath of the First World War to fight the injustices faced by those returning home after service.
Made up of four organisations joining forces, it became the British Legion on May 15, 1921, campaigning for fair treatment of those who had given so much for their country during the war and provided much-needed welfare support and comradeship to millions.
The Legion continues helping the armed forces community today, most notably organising the Poppy Appeal each November, but works throughout the year providing everything from small interventions to life-changing, and sometimes lifesaving, support to those who need it.
The South Shields branch is based at South Shields Royal British Legion Club in Queen Street in the town centre, with membership open to anyone, whether they have served in the armed forces or not.
Peter Boyack, president of the South Shields British Legion Club, said: “The Royal British Legion marking its centenary year is an extremely exciting milestone.
“The legion can be a lifeline for the armed forces community, and it is thanks to our dedicated team of local volunteers and all those who make the vital donations, that the Royal British Legion is able to continue supporting those countless men and women who sacrificed so much to serve their country.
“Each year, an enormous amount of hours is spent collecting for the annual Poppy Appeal and I would like to thank each and every member of our local community who has sold or bought a poppy, or contributed to the appeal over the years, to help the Legion reach this momentous occasion and build a legacy that will be carried on long into the future.”
While often associated with the First and Second World Wars, the organisation provides financial, social and emotional care and support to all members of the British Armed Forces, past and present and their families, involved in all conflicts.
Mayor of South Tyneside, Cllr Norman Dick, paid tribute to the work of the Legion in South Tyneside and beyond.
He said: “As an ex-serving member of the armed forces, it is wonderful to see the Royal British Legion celebrating their centenary year.
“For 100 years, the Royal British Legion has been a symbol of hope for the Armed Forces community, ensuring their contribution is never forgotten by providing lifelong support.
“The coronavirus pandemic in particular led to increased demands on the Royal British Legion, supporting those dealing with new hardships – from social isolation, financial difficulties and unemployment to losing loved ones or facing the threat of homelessness – making its work more vital than ever.
“The charity’s dedication to creating better futures for all those who have served, and continue to serve, with the British Armed Forces is truly inspiring. I would like to thank the Legion volunteers, members and staff for all their hard work on this amazing milestone and wish them another successful 100 years and beyond.”