Newport City Council bestowed the Freedom of the City of Newport on the Royal British Legion (RBL) in a special ceremony this week.
This rare honour was given in recognition and appreciation of the RBL’s service to the country as it marks its centenary year.
Today also marked the launch of the organisation’s annual Poppy Appeal which supports the Armed Forces community, both past and present, and their families.
RBL members and dignitaries, including the Lord Lieutenant of Gwent and the High Sheriff, attended a ceremony in the city centre.
Chief executive Beverly Owen read out the Freedom Scroll before the Leader, Councillor Jane Mudd, addressed the parade.
The Mayor, Councillor David Williams, then handed the scroll to Lieutenant Colonel MJ Harry DL, President of the Gwent Royal British Legion.
After the ceremony, Parade Commander Peter Colsey requested permission from the Mayor to exercise the Royal British Legion’s right to parade through the City of Newport.
— Newport City Council (@NewportCouncil) October 28, 2021
As they made their way from High Street and through Commercial Street, they were watched by crowds of people who had turned out to witness the occasion and pay their respects to the RBL.
Councillor Mudd said: “The Freedom of the City of Newport has been awarded less than 20 times in more than 100 years so this is a momentous day for us all.
“Newport is proud of its close association with the RBL and this is a fitting tribute to an organisation that has given such long and loyal service.
“On behalf of the city council and its citizens, it gives me enormous pleasure to congratulate the RBL on its centenary and to thank all those involved, particularly its volunteers in Newport, for all they have done and all they continue to do for service people and their families.
“With the launch of the annual Poppy Appeal also take place today today, I am sure millions of people will once again help support the invaluable work of the RBL, wear their poppies and remember all those who have sacrificed so much for our freedom.”
Royal British Legion Area Manager for Wales, Antony Metcalfe, said: “The Royal British Legion in Wales is delighted to be awarded the Newport Freedom of the City alongside our Centenary Poppy Appeal launch.
“It’s such an honour to be recognised for our tireless work that supports the Armed Forces community in Newport and the rest of Wales. The 2021 Poppy Appeal has now begun, so we’re encouraging all members of the public to go out and find their local collector to purchase their poppy and wear it with pride.”