Cathedral service marks centenary of Royal British Legion in Suffolk

A special ceremony has been held in Bury St Edmunds to mark the 100th anniversary of the Royal British Legion in Suffolk.

Military representatives from the Royal Navy, Army and Royal Air Force, including veterans from the Legion, were among the guests who came together at St Edmundsbury cathedral on Sunday.

The service paid tribute to the work the Legion has done since it was established and its life-changing and often life-saving support to the Armed Forces community.

Members of Suffolk's Royal British Legion. Credit: ITV Anglia

On Sunday 15 May 1921, four ex-Servicemen walked to the Cenotaph war memorial in London’s Whitehall.

As Big Ben struck nine, they laid a wreath at the base of the memorial and on that wreath were the badges of the four organisations that would officially amalgamate to form the British Legion.

That moment sparked the beginning of something much bigger – the Royal British Legion that we know today.

Alfred (far left) has volunteered at his local branch since 1999. Credit: ITV Anglia

There's 45 branches across Suffolk, with hundreds of volunteers including Alfred Bloomfield, who helps out in Saxmundham.

"I hold about eight different positions within the Royal British Legion, so I'm pretty committed to it", Alfred said.

"I never served in the Armed Forces, but my younger brother and son served and as time passed I began to realise what the Legion was about."

"Being the standard bearer, I am especially proud. As long as there are armed forces, conflicts and veterans, there will always be a place for the Royal British Legion and volunteers like myself.

"I will keep going as long as I can."

Within months of its formation in 1921, the Legion launched the first Poppy Appeal.

For 100 years, the Royal British Legion has been a symbol of hope and help and takes pride in its heritage.Earlier this year, Prince Charles paid tribute to the Legion in a video message and hailed its "constant" support of the Armed Forces community.

Prince Charles said: "There are few organisations which hold a place at the heart of society in the way the Royal British Legion does.

"For one hundred years, the Royal British Legion has been a constant, through the annual Poppy Appeal, leading the nation in remembrance and providing a life-long commitment to every veteran and their families.

"Therefore, I wanted, above all, to offer my sincere and heartfelt gratitude to all those who have helped build this wonderful organisation we know today, and to all those who will be part of its future."