100 years ago, the First World War ended, and a new world began. The example and experience of those who lived through it shaped the world we live in today. In 2018 The Royal British Legion is leading the nation in saying Thank You to all who served, sacrificed and changed our world.
Here in Dunmow, we aim to express our thanks through our ‘Dunmow Says Thank You’ campaign, which is bringing community groups within the Dunmow & District areas together to deliver a series of events to say ‘Thank You’ and to raise awareness of the sacrifices made to give us the freedom and peace that we live in today.
We’d love to hear what your ideas on how we can grow the experience further, and if you have your own stories relating to the sacrifices made by our Armed Forces community, so please share below and be part of our Community.
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The Aims of Dunmow Says Thank You
Engaging community groups and people of all ages to thank the WW1 generation
To commemorate the centenary of the end of the First World War, the Dunmow & District RBL Branch have set up the 'Dunmow Says Thank You' team (a collaboration of community groups and the branch) aiming to engage their community and encourage everyone to say Thank You to the WW1 generation.
Led by Kevin May, the Branch Secretary, and Reverend Ruth Patten, the team have been working with the town council, local businesses and youth groups to raise awareness of the Legion’s Thank You movement and organise a range of commemorative activities.
‘We are working with the Town Council who have helped us secure funding towards our planned Festival of Remembrance, which will take place at Foakes Hall on Saturday 10th November. They have liaised with the District Councillors to make more funding available, and have also assisted with venue hire and road closures for upcoming events.’ Kevin explained.
Local businesses are also on board with a number of shops willing to advertise upcoming events such as the World War 1 & Poppy trail. There will also be a temporary exhibition of WW1, Poppy, RBL, Women & Children inspired images and artwork, and a Festival of Remembrance held’ said Kevin.
Aiming to inspire people of all ages to get involved, the group have organised a series of inclusive events and activities and the response has been overwhelming.
As Kevin explained ‘After a request for knitted poppies was made via social media, we have received over 3,000 and expect a lot more in October. Apart from the thousands of poppies we’ve received from UK residents, we’ve also received a batch from Australia and we have a lady in Italy knitting for us! One thing that epitomises the community effort we are striving for, is that it is allowing people who would not normally be involved to contribute; for example, the residents of local care homes are knitting their own poppies and feel very proud to be able to give their own input.’
The knitted poppies are going to be used to create external displays such as poppy crosses, poppies cascading from trees and poppies draped around railings and benches in various locations in the town.
The Branch have also acquired the large event poppies and are working with a local business, M&B Printers of Dunmow, who have offered to print the name, rank, number and age of every one of Dunmow & District’s Fallen who gave their all in WW1 onto each poppy, free of charge. The plan is for these poppies to be placed on lampposts/high points around the town to create an avenue of poppies leading up to the War Memorial.
‘The scale of what we are doing, as a community group, has not really been done before in the town and thus a lot of interest is being generated.’ said Kevin.
For the branch apart from marking the WW1 centenary, this is an opportunity to raise awareness and encourage everyone interested in supporting the Legion’s work to join as members.
‘The Thank You movement and GP90 are perfect platforms to heighten the awareness and profile of our branch, and have helped us forge new and improved links with the community. My vision as Secretary, both Branch and Group Secretary, is to bring the Branch out from the shadows and more into the eye of the public, taking the Branch and Legion forward into the next generation, whilst ensuring we cater for the current generation. So far, we have had a small increase in members and hope to increase this further with the upcoming events.’ said Kevin.
If anyone is interested in finding out more information, wish to help with any of the upcoming activities, or wish to enquire about joining the Royal British Legion, please contact Kevin May at firstname.lastname@example.org