RBL director general in talks in Spalding

Chris Simpkins.
Chris Simpkins.
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A regular column from Jan Whitbourn of Tulip Radio.

Tulip Radio’s Jan Whitbourn was one of the volunteers who spent a day at the Tower of London ‘planting’ 884,000 ceramic poppies for the breathtaking and awe inspiring art installation, each one representing a life lost by Allied Forces during World War One.

Jan and the team also enjoyed an interesting visit to the studios from Chris Simpkins, director general of the Royal British Legion, the organisers of the annual Poppy Appeal. Chris, formerly chief executive of South Holland District Council and of the Falkland Islands, took up his post with the RBL in 2007.

Chris spoke of the extremely busy year the RBL has had, including the D-Day 70 commemoration in Normandy, the last time veterans from that campaign will gather to honour the memory of fallen comrades.

The main event of each year is the Poppy Appeal which culminated on Tuesday with solemn ceremonies of remembrance all around the world. The Legion is a truly worldwide organisation with branches in many countries, all of whom collect millions of pounds to help and support ex-Armed Forces members and their families. Chris explained some of the work the Legion undertakes and underlined that whatever and wherever the conflict, the Legion will be there to provide help and support for servicemen and women and their families for the rest of their lives.

There was so much to talk about but inevitably we ran out of time. However, the insight Chris Simpkins gave us about the wonderful work of the RBL prompted us to think and give thanks again for the sacrifices made on our behalf by our servicemen and women to allow us all the freedom we enjoy today.