LEDBURY and Newent members of the Royal British Legion will take part in the biggest event in the organisation's history, with a special once in a lifetime visit to First World War battlefields and the Menin Gate.

As a nationwide event, the Royal British Legion will be recreating its 1928 pilgrimage to Great War battlefields next year, some 90 years after the poignant visit first took place, and to mark the centenary anniversary of the end of the First World War.

A spokesman said: "This evocative event is called The Great Pilgrimage 90 and is set to be the British Legion’s biggest membership event in its history.

"A tour to WW1 battlefields and cemeteries will be made to commemorate 90 years since the Great Pilgrimage, when on August 8, 1928, a decade after the end of World War 1, veterans and war widows visited the battlefields of the Somme and Ypres before marching to the Menin Gate in Ypres."

Lloyd Meredith, president of the Ledbury Branch of the Royal British Legion said: "We shall have a standard bearer there. At least two people from Ledbury will be going.

"This commemorates the end of the First World War and will be a reminder to younger generations of the great sacrifices made."

On August 8, 2018, two representatives from every branch and county or their local community will carry their standards along the same route in Ypres to the Menin Gate, "representing an entire generation that served while defending their country".

Over two days, attendees will visit battlefield memorial sites, trenches and cemeteries.

Each branch will bring with them a wreath containing a remembrance message and attendees will take part in a parade to the Menin Gate, where the wreaths will be collected as the parade marches to the Gate. These wreaths will be subsequently built into the display within the Commonwealth War Graves Commission Grounds that surround the memorial.

A march past will then take place, observed by civic and military guests from the UK, Europe and Commonwealth countries.

A national commemorative service, led by the Last Post Association, will then take place at the Menin Gate and members will join spectators afterwards in the Great Square "for an afternoon of comradeship with exhibitions and musical performances".

But support by way of sponsorship may be required from the local community.

Newent town councillor, Colin Thomas said: "Newent and District Branch has a very proud history dating back to 1927 when the branch was formed.

"It is a small branch with limited resources and feels that they must be represented at Great Pilgrimage 90. This type of event comes around only once in a lifetime and the branch would be very proud to represent the town of Newent and District on this very prestigious occasion."

Cllr Thomas added: "The branch is therefore looking to raise funds to enable the standard bearer, Colin Thomson, and one other to represent Newent Branch at this event."

Anyone wishing to sponsor the Newent contingent should contact the chairman at newent.chairman@rbl.community

The Ledbury branch is still to hold a meeting to discuss the finer details of its participation in the Great Pilgrimage 90.