Local Members of the Royal British Legion to Represent East Grinstead at WW1 Commemorations in Belgium

29 June 2018

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Mike Richardson and Ron Woolley, together with Lis Woolley and Tanya Hayman from the Womens section, will travel to Europe for The Royal British Legion’s Great Pilgrimage 90 – 5-9th August 2018

Members of the East Grinstead branch of The Royal British Legion are to join thousands on a pilgrimage of Remembrance to World War One battlefield that culminates in a parade and ceremony in Ypres as part of the end of the First World War centenary commemorations this August.

The Royal British Legion event, known as the Great Pilgrimage 90 (GP90), takes place between the 5th and 9th of August and will be one of the largest in the charity’s history.

GP90 will mark 90 years since the original Royal British Legion Pilgrimage in 1928, which saw 11,000 World War One veterans and war widows visit the battlefields of the Somme in France and Ypres in Belgium, a decade after the conflict ended.

That Pilgrimage culminated in a march through Ypres to the Commonwealth War Grave Commission’s Menin Gate Memorial for a ceremony to commemorate the launch of The Hundred Days Offensive and in remembrance of those who never returned.

Local Legion members, Mike Richardson and Ron Woolley, together with Lis Woolley and Tanya Hayman, will represent the East Grinstead Branch and the local community at the event, as Standard Bearer and wreath layer respectively.

Mike, Ron, Lis and Tanya, will tour some of the same battlefields and cemeteries visited by those on the 1928 Pilgrimage, before marching along the original route through Ypres, to the Menin Gate on the 8th August, bearing their branch standards and wreathes.

They will join more than 2,200 other Legion representatives and dignitaries, including Civic and military guests from the UK, Commonwealth and Northern Europe who are taking part. Once at the Menin Gate, Ron and Tanya will lay wreathes on behalf of the East Grinstead community.

Derek Capel, President of the East Grinstead Branch of The Royal British Legion, comments: “Great Pilgrimage 90 is a unique opportunity for the Legion community to come together and bear our Standards along the same route in Ypres taken 90 years earlier by the veterans and widows of the First World War. The East Grinstead Branch looks forward to proudly representing the town at the event.”

As local champions of Remembrance, the East Grinstead Branch of The Royal British Legion is looking to work in partnership with their community to bring their unique Remembrance  message to the Menin Gate, on their wreathes, where they will be displayed in a wreath installation for viewing by the general public until the end of August.

The parade will start at midday and we encourage the public to make the trip across to Ypres for the 8th August and fill the Market Square to watch the parade, One Hundred Days ceremony and then enjoy an afternoon of musical entertainment including The Central Band of the Royal British Legion.

If you want to find out more about GP90 or your local Royal British Legion branch, then please contact Ron Woolley on ronwoolley1937@gmail.com