Posted by: madkentdragon | July 15, 2010

The Newer Face of the Royal British Legion Membership


If you have read any of my past blogs, you will know I support the Royal British Legion and here is another view of the Legion

I’d like to introduce you to one of the newer Branches of the Royal British Legion; it is the Royal British Legion Riders Branch.

It is about as far from the standard image of the Legion as you can go! Most people’s idea of the “Legion” is where old men sit and discuss past battles and old age pensions over a pint or parading down the street on Remembrance Sunday.

This concept, my friend, even though it is partially true; can be cast aside when you meet this bunch of leather clad bikers! I say bunch – it’s more of a multitude there’s over 3,300 of us – yes I’m one and, although haven’t ridden a bike for years, proud to be part of it. These lively, mischievous bunch are the lifeblood of the new Legion identity who regularly raise thousands of pounds for the Poppy Appeal, this year’s total is £11,000+ and still rising.

They fulfil all the proper Legion Branch duties, have Welfare volunteers, parade regularly and carry their own Branch Standard. But they are so much more than this; want help at a local fete, charity do etc – if there are some of the members in your area – they will try to attend. And when they attend you can be sure that they attract attention, from youngsters who want to look at the machines to older folk who want to know who they are and what they are doing there!

They attend the Ride to the Wall and do sponsored bike rides to raise funds for their Branch and Poppy Appeal – but they will also help others collect for the Poppy Appeal and deliver boxes to schools etc.

A County Secretary was manning a stall at a County Show (not Kent) and had been let down by helpers, she told me: “Suddenly I saw four big bikers walking towards me, and I was worried about my collecting buckets – but they introduced themselves and pointed out that they also had a stand about 6 rows over and one of them had walked past and noticed I was by myself and they had decided to come over and help me. Which was nice as I hadn’t been to the loo or had a drink since I got there and they stayed with me the rest of the day”

So, my friends, the Legion is evolving from the older image to a younger one with active members and it is something that I am proud to be part of! It will be 90 years old next year and despite its age is still going strong and helping all ex-service and serving personnel and their immediate families. Also, did you realise that the age of those founder members was 19 – 40? because that was the age of the returnees from WWI and that is also the biggest age group the Legion now helps.

For more on the Riders go to http://www.rblr.co.uk

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Responses

  1. Thank you for bringing the RBL Riders Branch to everybody’s attention.

    I don’t have the privilege of of being a member of that branch. I suppose that stems from my feeling a lot safer on four wheels after a moped accident many years ago. But I do try to follow what the Riders are doing through their Facebook page. As you rightly say, the Riders are not the standard image of the Royal British Legion. The fact remains that they do a fantastic job in supporting the Royal British Legion and are an example to us all.

    We must not forget the Riders’ support for members of our Armed Forces killed in Afghanistan. The Riders always seem able to be represented in Wotton Bassett for when the repatriation flights arrive and I would like to thank them for that.

    I always hesitate to single out people, but I would like to say a personal thank you to Big Steve, the RBL Riders Branch Repatriation Liaison Officer. Without his page on the Legion Live website, I would not be able to spread the word on Twitter about the dates and times of the repatriations.

    Thank you, Big Steve, and thank you RBL Riders Branch. Keep up the good work – you do us all proud.


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