Our Favourite Moments from 2017

In 2017 The Royal British Legion marked centenaries, led the country in Remembrance and participated in a Christmas Turkey Dash. We look back at some of the best moments from the past 12 months.

Attending The Iraq and Afghanistan Memorial Unveiling

On 9 March Her Majesty The Queen unveiled a new memorial honouring UK Armed Forces personnel and civilians involved in the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts from 1990-2015. Speaking before the unveiling, veterans spoke to us about what the memorial meant to them. 

The NMA Opened Their Permanent Remembrance Exhibition

March also saw the opening of Landscapes of Life - a new permanent exhibition at the National Memorial Arboretum exploring the different histories of Remembrance. Read more about the exhibition in our interview with John K Hughes, Interpretation Curator at the NMA.

We Helped Launch Veterans' Gateway

In April a consortium of military charities, including The Royal British Legion, launched Veterans' Gateway - a first point of contact for veterans and their families to access information, advice and support on a range of issues including healthcare, housing, and employment.

Paul Wheeler Ran Unsupported Across America

In May Army veteran Paul Wheeler set off on a mammoth journey, running 3000 miles, solo and unsupported across America to fund raise for The Royal British Legion. 

Read more about Paul's story

Celebrating The Role of Women in The Armed Forces

On 7 July more than 1,000 women attended The Royal British Legion’s ‘Women at War 100’ event at the National Memorial Arboretum, marking the centenary of the formation of the Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps (WAAC) and celebrating 100 years of women in the military.

Explore our timeline to discover how the role of women in the Armed Forces has developed since WAAC was established. 

Inviting People to View WW1 In a New Way

A hundred years on from the Battle of Passchendaele, we invited people to discover how the battle unfolded and experience what life was like on the front line through immersive 360 videos. Created in partnership with historian Dan Snow, the videos let viewers travel back to 1917 through first-hand audio accounts, diary excerpts, archive film and photos.

Supporting Friends and Family at The Invictus Games

In September we headed to Toronto for the Invictus Games 2017 to support the friends and family of the UK team's athletes.

Making Positive Changes for The Armed Forces Community

Following our Insult to Injury campaign, from April 2017 military compensation will no longer be taken to cover injured veterans’ social care costs in Great Britain, making a huge difference to thousands of injured veterans like Keith.

Our Count Them In campaign also made progress with the Office for National Statistics (ONS) confirming their intention to recommend the inclusion of a question on the Armed Forces community in the next census in England and Wales. The Legion welcomes this development and now looks to the Government to support the ONS’s recommendation in its census white paper. We also look forward to progress being made on recognising the Armed Forces community in the censuses in Scotland and Northern Ireland.

Recreating 'In Flanders Fields'

The launch of the 2017 Poppy Appeal saw us re-create John McCrae’s poem in seven locations to bring ‘In Flanders Fields’ into modern-day consciousness. 

Poppy Pound

We also launched our Poppy Pound campaign, inviting people to donate all their old pound coins to the Poppy Appeal.

Jeffery Long Walking Challenge Goes Viral


During the Poppy Appeal Jeffrey Long, a former soldier, set out to raise £1,000 for The Royal British Legion by walking 86 miles for his 86th birthday. However, after a member of the public posted his story on Facebook it was picked up by comedian Jason Manford, and Jeffrey went to raise over £120,000.

Read more about Jeffrey here.

Why I wear my Poppy

During Remembrance we asked the nation to Rethink Remembrance by recognising the sacrifices made by the Armed Forces community, past and present. We asked members of our Armed Forces community what the poppy means to them.

Leading The Nation In Remembrance

On 11 November our annual Festival of Remembrance took place at the Royal Albert Hall. In the In the presence of Her Majesty The Queen and members of the Royal Family, Emeli Sande, Tom Odell, Melanie C, Alfie Boe and Lesley Garrett perform alongside The Queen’s Colour Squadron and The Band of HM Royal Marines

Racing In The PayPal Turkey Dash

In December the Legion’s very own turkey - Poppy Pecksalot - raced against seven other charity turkeys in a live race. Thanks to donations from supporters Poppy Pecksalot was in good shape for the race and finished in a respectable third place.

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