The Honorary Freedom of the County Borough of Blaenau Gwent has today been bestowed upon the Royal British Legion in recognition of the dedicated charitable work carried out by local branches.
Meeting just over a week before Remembrance is celebrated right across the UK, the elected members of Blaenau Gwent Council were privileged to admit the Royal British Legion as Freemen of the County Borough in what is also the organisation’s 100th anniversary year.
Councillor Brian Thomas, Blaenau Gwent Council’s Armed Forces Champion, said:
“The Freedom of the Borough is the highest award that Blaenau Gwent Council can give, and we are delighted to take the opportunity of the Centenary of the Royal British Legion to recognise the dedicated work done by countless volunteers at local branches in Blaenau Gwent over many years.
“This honour reflects the strong support of communities here in Blaenau Gwent for the Armed Forces. Many men and women from Blaenau Gwent have proudly served, this award recognises the excellent work that the Royal British Legion has done over many years to support them and their families.
“Thank you to all involved for your commitment and hard work.”
Anthony Metcalfe, the Royal British Legion’s Area Manager for Wales was delighted to receive the award during the virtual ceremony today.
Mr Metcalfe said:
“It’s a great privilege in this, the Centenary year of the formation of the Royal British Legion in 1921, that the Freedom of Blaenau Gwent County Borough Council is bestowed on the Royal British Legion.
“This is a mark of the strong local relationship that exists between the two organisations and a reflection of the dedication and service not self that Legion members and volunteers have provided to the community across the borough for the last 100 years.”
The Council and local branches of Royal British Legion have worked together for many years to support the Armed Forces community in Blaenau Gwent, including through the Blaenau Gwent Armed Forces Covenant Steering Group, to ensure that serving and former service members and their families get the support and respect that they deserve.
The organisations work together on Remembrance events, including both the regular annual programme and larger events such as the BG Remembers programme in 2018 for the Centenary of the end of World War I. Local branches played a key role in events such as the Reaffirmation Parade for the Freedom of the Borough for the Royal Welsh, and organising workshops with the Children’s Grand Council to help educate children and young people.
This award of Freedom of the Borough also recognises the time and energy, as well as financial support, that many in Blaenau Gwent give to the Poppy Appeal and other local fundraising which helps to raise millions of pounds every year to support the armed forces community.
The Royal British Legion has local branches in Abertillery; Beaufort; Blaina; Brynmawr; Cwm; Ebbw Vale; Rassau and Tredegar.