Fundraising Complete!

RBLI are pleased to announce that we have surpassed our fundraising target of £300,000 to build a Garden of Honour dedicated to those who have, or still do serve, in Her Majesty’s Armed Forces.

Creating the Garden of Honour in the Royal British Legion Village in Aylesford, Kent, began in earnest in 2014 to mark the centenary of the Great War and to become a permanent and fitting national memorial to the dedication, bravery and sacrifice made by our Military Personnel.

This month, thanks to the tremendous generosity of people, groups and corporate donors, we have managed to raise £320,000 and we are now on track to put the finishing touches to the Garden.

Over the course of the last year, donations have been raised by both local and national companies and trusts, as well as from fundraising events such as quiz nights, concerts, tea parties, a brave zip wire challenge, and a very poignant sponsored cycle ride from Pegasus Bridge to the Menin Gate where a wreath was laid on behalf of our charity.

Our Chief Executive Steve Sherry is overwhelmed by the £320,000 figure. “We owe a huge debt of thanks to the hundreds of donors who gave their money and their time to make the Garden possible.

“It’s been a real privilege to witness the wonderful engagement from the local community in supporting our fundraising events and without whose efforts this project would never have got off the ground.”

The Garden of Honour is built on the site of the original Memorial Garden opened by HRH The Duchess of Kent in 1980. However, its unsuitability for larger events and for people with mobility issues meant it needed to be completely transformed.

Thanks to the vision of architect Andrew Clague from Clague architects, and Dartford based Construction Company GA Harpers, the new garden is fully accessible and has a bandstand, parade ground, amphitheatre seating, memorial square, flagstaff and an undercover area of raised gardens and flowerbeds.

The Garden of Honour in the Royal British Legion Village, Aylesford, Kent will be used as a location for events throughout the year, with particular focus on days of national and local remembrance, as well as being a place of reflection.

Steve Sherry continued: “I’m delighted to announce that while the official opening won’t take place until the Autumn, on 5 July the Royal British Legion held their annual Kent County Parade concluding in a remembrance service at the Garden of Honour – the first time this has happened in half a century.

“I’m also extremely proud to announce that following a grant from the War Memorials Trust to pay for the restoration of our war memorial – which has pride of place in the Garden of Honour – it has now been officially recognised as having national war memorial status.”

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Armistice Day Ceremony

With the first phase of construction complete, the Garden of Honour hosted a service on Armistice Day.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe Right Honourable Michael Fallon MP, Secretary of State for Defence, attended the ceremony with members of RBLI staff, residents of the Royal British Legion Village and local dignitaries.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Several wreaths were laid at the ceremony.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

More funds still need to be raised in order to complete the Garden of Honour. Donations of any size will be gratefully received and can be made at: justgiving.com/gardenofhonour

Construction of the Garden of Honour Continues

With only a matter of weeks left until the construction of the main area of the Garden of Honour is completed, work is continuing at a quick pace. Here is a look at some of the features of the memorial garden in the Royal British Legion Village as it nears completion.

Construction of the bandstand, which will be used to host events throughout the year, is well underway.

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The amphitheatre seating, which will accommodate over 50 people, is almost complete.

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The poppy emblem, located near to the memorial, is now finished and looking great!

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We will continue to update you with how the Garden of Honour progresses. If you would like to donate to this memorial garden dedicated to those who serve, visit our JustGiving page.

Garden of Honour Construction Begins

Work has begun to transform the memorial garden in the Royal British Legion Village, Aylesford, into the Garden of Honour, a national memorial dedicated to all those who serve.

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The Garden of Honour will include a new Bandstand, Memorial Square and Flagstaff, as well as a raised garden area suitable for wheelchair use, which will have a pergola roof covering (as shown below).

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Work is progressing quickly on the garden, with a formal opening due to take place next year.

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We need your support to reach the £300,000 needed for the garden. Contributions of any size will be gratefully received and can be made through our JustGiving page: justgiving.com/gardenofhonour

Garden of Honour Project Launched by Lieutenant-General Andrew Gregory CB

The Chief of Defence Personnel, Lieutenant-General Andrew Gregory CB, today officially commenced a project to create a national memorial garden to honour our Armed Forces, by breaking the ground at the site in Kent.

(Above from left, Leyland Ridings (Councillor, Kent County Council), Roger Gledhill, (Chairman, Aylesford Parish Council), Malcolm Clewer and Donald Hobson (RBLI Residents), Steve Sherry (RBLI Chief Executive) and Lieutenant-General Andrew Gregory CB.)

The project, which will see the current memorial garden on The Royal British Legion Village in Kent transformed into a ‘Garden of Honour’ dedicated to all those who serve, will continue over the coming months.

Lieutenant-General Gregory’s visit commenced with a tour of RBLI’s Social Enterprise where he spoke to a number of ex-service personnel employed in the Signs Department. He also toured RBLI’s Care Home Gavin Astor House, where he met the Registered Domiciliary Manager, Maggie Wright, Registered Nursing Manager, Paula Richards, and some of RBLI’s resident Armed Forces Veterans.

 

The launch ceremony was attended by a number of veterans from the Royal British Legion Village, in addition to Aylesford Parish Council (who have donated £6000 to the project) and Leyland Ridings (KCC Councillor and Armed Forces Champion).

Speaking at the launch ceremony, Lieutenant-General Gregory said “I am delighted to launch the Garden of Honour project, which will provide the RBLI Village with a wonderful location for people to pay their respects to those who serve. This project affirms RBLI’s outstanding commitment to supporting the Armed Forces Community. I am certain it will be completed to the exceptionally high standards that RBLI achieves in employment, welfare and care support to Veterans and dependants.”

If you would like to donate towards the Garden of Honour, please click here. You can also find out more information about the project here.

Aylesford Parish Council donate £6000

Fundraising continues to progress with Aylesford Parish Council donating £6000 towards the Garden of Honour.

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The Council said they “have agreed to make a donation of £6,000 to this extremely worthwhile project taking place within the Parish area.  The Parish Council felt that it wished to contribute to the restoration of the Memorial Garden to show the respect and gratitude that they and the Aylesford community have for those who have given their lives to keep them and their way of life safe for now and the future.  This is particularly relevant in this year – the centenary of the Word War 1”.

The donation will go towards the refurbishment and relocation of the memorial plaques.

If you would like to donate to the Garden of Honour: www.justgiving.com/gardenofhonour.

£25,000 donation made to Garden of Honour

As fundraising for The Garden of Honour gets underway, Royal British Legion Industries are pleased to announce that Neil Walton of Centor Insurance has kick started their fundraising appeal with a generous donation of £25,000. Without the generosity of donors like Neil, RBLI would be unable to complete the project, which aims to create a national memorial garden dedicated to all those who serve. 

(Neil Walton, right, with Stephen Kingsman DL, Vice Chairman of RBLI and Chairman of the Garden of Honour Committee)

Other organisations who have already committed to the Garden of Honour are Hadlow College, who will be getting involved with the horticultural work, and Clague Architects, who have designed the garden.

If you would like to get involved with the Garden of Honour project, either by donating, holding a fundraising event, or volunteering your services, RBLI will be pleased to hear from you. All donations will be gratefully received and may be made through www.justgiving.com/gardenofhonour.