TWO members of the Saddleworth branch of The Royal British Legion are joining thousands of RBL members taking part in the Great Pilgrimage 90.
The event, between August 5-9, is one of the largest in the charity’s history, making it a special and poignant trip for Alison Clowes and Alan Wrigley.
They will join 2,200 on the pilgrimage to the former battlefields of the Somme in France and Ypres in Belgium as part of World War One centenary celebrations.
It will culminate in a parade and ceremony in Ypres for standard bearer Alison and Alan, who will lay the Saddleworth RBL wreath at the Menin Gate on August 8.
GP90 marks 90 years since the original RBL Pilgrimage which saw 11,000 WW1 veterans and war widows visit the Somme and Ypres a decade after the conflict ended.
That Pilgrimage culminated in a march through Ypres to the Commonwealth War Grave Commission’s Menin Gate Memorial for a ceremony to commemorate the launch of The Hundred Days Offensive and in remembrance of those who never returned.
This month, the pair will join their fellow Legion representatives and dignitaries, including civic and military guests from the UK, Commonwealth and Northern Europe who are taking part.
Paddy Diamond of the Saddleworth Branch of The Royal British Legion said: “Great Pilgrimage 90 is a unique opportunity for the Legion community to come together and bear our Standards along the same route in Ypres taken 90 years earlier by the veterans and widows of the First World War.
“The Saddleworth Branch looks forward to proudly representing Saddleworth at the event.”
Alison and Alan have been provided with a donation towards expenses from the Saddleworth branch courtesy of a trust fund established in memory of former member Norman Franklin.
As local champions of Remembrance, the RBL Saddleworth Branch is looking to work in partnership with their community to bring their unique Remembrance message to the Menin Gate on their wreath, where it will be displayed in a wreath installation for viewing by the general public until the end of August.
The parade will start at midday and the public is encouraged to make the trip across to Ypres for August 8 and fill the Market Square to watch the parade, One Hundred Days, ceremony and then enjoy an afternoon of musical entertainment including The Central Band of the Royal British Legion.