The Royal British Legion

The Royal British Legion was formed on 15 May 1921, bringing together four national organisations of ex-Servicemen that had established themselves after the First World War. The main purpose of the Legion was straightforward: to care for those who had suffered as a result of service in the Armed Forces during the war.

Today, the Legion is the nation’s largest Armed Forces charity providing care and support to all members of the British Armed Forces past and present and their families. It is the national custodian of Remembrance and safeguards the Military Covenant between the nation and its Armed Forces. It is well known for its annual Poppy Appeal, and its iconic emblem, the red poppy.

For the Legion, the occasion of Her Majesty The Queen’s 90th birthday holds a significant cause for celebration as she has served as its Patron since 1952. Each November, The Queen attends The Royal British Legion Festival of Remembrance at the Royal Albert Hall the evening before leading the nation at the Cenotaph in London on Remembrance Sunday.

The Festival of Remembrance is the longest-running live TV broadcast and since becoming monarch, Her Majesty has only been unable to attend two performances. In 2011 to mark both the Legion’s 90th anniversary and The Queen’s 85th birthday, Her Majesty sat for a specially commissioned portrait. The artist painted the wristwatch to appear to read 11 o’clock as a subtle way of emphasising Her Majesty’s links with the Legion.

The Royal British Legion values the support of more than 120,000 volunteers across the country, one of whom is Ben Poku.

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Chris Simpkins, Director General of The Royal British Legion, said: “In 1952 the Legion’s National Executive Council rose to their feet when told that the new Monarch, HM Queen Elizabeth II, had agreed to become Patron of the organisation – it was a remarkable start to a very special relationship. Since that time HM The Queen has been integral to many important moments in the Legion’s history. She is a guiding light to our organisation and we are honoured to have Her Majesty as our current and longest serving Patron.

“To mark The Queen’s 90th birthday and in keeping with The Patron’s Lunch, the Legion is inviting our supporters to host their very own Royal British Lunch, and join in the jubilant spirit of the celebrations in June. We hope people up and down the country will celebrate The Queen’s birthday in their own way while helping us raise funds for our vital work with the Armed Forces community.”

Ben’s story

Please Click the video link below to view Ben’s Story

Ben Poku is an Army Corporal who has been volunteering for The Royal British Legion as a case worker since 2007. Over the past nine years Ben has also helped out at many large-scale Legion events including the Poppy Appeal.

Originally from Ghana, Ben joined up to serve in the British Army in 2000. He then went on to serve in Iraq during the early stages of his career.

Ben currently lives in London and works at the Defence Medical Rehabilitation Centre, Headley Court as a nurse on the neuro rehabilitation ward.

Ben says of his volunteering work: “I volunteer because as a nurse, and as a serving member of the armed forces, I feel I can relate to people who find themselves in certain situations. I wanted to offer my assistance in my spare time for people who needed help. It was just something I felt I had to do.”