Ian Lavery recently met with The Royal British Legion’s Northern Area Manager, Marcus Hawthorn, to discuss support for the Armed Forces community and this year’s World War One commemorations.
The Royal British Legion is the country’s largest Armed Forces charity, providing welfare assistance to many thousands of veterans, serving personnel and their families. It is also the national custodian of Remembrance, best known for its emblem the red poppy. Ian attended the Legion’s event in Parliament to show his support for the charity’s work, and to meet with local area manager Marcus Hawthorn to discuss issues facing the Armed Forces community, as well as plans to commemorate the centenary of the Battle of the Somme.
Legion research has found that the biggest issues currently experienced by working-age veterans include hearing loss and difficulty finding employment, whilst among older veterans, physical health and social care are among the most common problems. To help address these issues, the Legion has successfully campaigned for a new £10m Veterans Hearing Fund, supports career transition through its Civvy Street website, and delivers practical assistance through community outreach services and six care homes.
In advance of the summer’s centenary commemorations of the Battle of the Somme, the Legion has produced a comprehensive toolkit to help local communities organise their own commemorative events. Somme 100 provides an opportunity for us all to reflect on one of the bloodiest battles in human history, in which more than one million men were wounded or killed, from all walks of life and every part of the country. Anyone who is interested in learning more about the battle, or how they can get involved with the commemorations, should visit www.britishlegion.org.uk/Somme100, where toolkits can be mail-ordered and downloaded.
Marcus Hawthorn, the Legion’s Northern area manager, said “I was delighted to see Ian and we were grateful that he took the time to drop in. The Royal British Legion offers a range of welfare support all year round, and last year we answered over 450,000 calls for help. This event offered a great opportunity to spread the word about the range of services that we provide, and discuss our plans for the centenary commemorations of the Battle of the Somme. It was a pleasure to meet with Ian and I look forward to working with him on Armed Forces issues”.
Ian Lavery added, “I enjoyed meeting staff from The Royal British Legion and learning more about the work being done in Wansbeck. Members of the Armed Forces community make huge sacrifices in the service of our country, and I am proud to support the work of the Legion in honouring the memory of the fallen and building a better future for the living."
A full calendar of events and a directory of local Legion branches in Northumbria is available at http://counties.britishlegion.org.uk/counties/northumbria-county and the Civvy Street website can be found at https://www.civvystreet.org/