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Colleague helps remember WWI fallen


A Lincolnshire Co-op colleague has helped commemorate those who died in World War One by retracing the steps of a historic journey to Belgium.

In 1928 the Royal British Legion arranged for war veterans and widows to visit the Somme and Ypres battlegrounds, followed by a march to the Menin Gate Memorial in Ypres, Belgium.

Exactly 90 years later, Legion members have recreated the same journey.

Standard bearers and representatives travelled to Belgium to take part on 8th August in the GP90 parade and a One Hundred Days ceremony at Menin Gate commemorating the war’s last 100 days.

And Lincolnshire Co-op Funeral Services Trainer Richard Kent, who volunteers as standard bearer for the Legion’s Washingborough and District branch, went along to help represent local people and pay tribute.

I think that commemorating the huge sacrifice that was made is as important today as it has been for the last 100 years,” he said.

“To have such a high-profile event is great as it puts to mind the efforts and hardship they went through to leave us with the freedom we enjoy today.

"I was very proud to have taken part in the event and especially to have represented Washingborough and its surrounding villages on such an historic occasion - and to be one of the greatest number of Royal British Legion Standard Bearers ever to parade at one time."

The forces have long been a part of Richard’s life.

“When I was a little boy my grandfather, who had been a gunner in the Royal Artillery in World War One, had been a supporter of the Royal British Legion,” he said.

Before his career with Lincolnshire Co-op, Richard worked for 22 years in the RAF Police advising on security. He also spent nine years as the Royal British Legion’s Lincolnshire County standard bearer, going on to compete for the regional and even national title.

The Royal British Legion and the RAF Benevolent Fund are being supported by Lincolnshire Co-op’s Community Champions scheme during summer, with more than £79,000 fundraised so far.

Over 151,000 Lincolnshire Co-op members have helped raise the money by shopping with their dividend card, and proceeds from the carrier bag levy are added to the pot.

A selection of forces-themed Love Local products made by local producers, from Red Leicester Bastion in the Air cheese by Lymn Bank Farm to Red Arrow sausages by Uncle Henry’s, has also raised funds with 10p from each sale going towards the total. Extra fundraising has come from fun and games at summer shows plus competitions and Armed Forces Day activities in Lincolnshire Co-op outlets.

“To support two charities that are dear to me is just wonderful,” Richard added.

The fundraising will continue until the end of August, when a new group of good causes will benefit. Find out more here