by JONATHAN LEE | Published on November 11, 2019

Today marks 100 years since the first two-minute silence was observed on Armistice Day, 11 November 1919. You are probably wearing a poppy as a symbol of remembrance, and may well have donated to the Poppy Appeal too. If you haven’t, you can here:

I think the majority of people know that the Royal British Legion are the charity behind this extraordinary fundraising campaign, but what most probably don’t realise is the scale of what they do outside of the appeal.

If I’m honest – before we started working with them a few months ago – I didn’t either. I knew about the National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire. And living in Kent I had seen one of their care homes in Broadstairs. But what surprised me was what else they do.

The almost 6000 people they gave short-term breaks to.

The almost 5000 people they helped live independently at home.

The 90,000 people they supported with advice and guidance.

The 500+ sick, injured and wounded service personnel they rehabilitated through their Battle Back Centre.

All in the last year alone.

When I was getting my poppy the other day I had a chat with the volunteer, and they – in a brilliant and non-trivialising way – described the Legion’s challenge thus: “I often think we’re a bit like Toploader. They had one huge hit [Dancing in the Moonlight] that everyone knows, but it overshadowed everything else they did.”

So broadening awareness of what the Royal British Legion do and the variety of areas in which you can join them is certainly something we’ll be helping them overcome. With the ultimate aim, I hope, of them being seen as the charity that creates better futures for those it serves and for those who work there.