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Taking our Veterans on a trip down memory lane.

Living history group
On Saturday we organised 18 of our Armed Forces Veterans, residents and staff from the Royal British Legion Village in Aylesford to Maidstone Museum for a regimental roadshow.

The residents, who are themselves Armed Forces veterans or their descendants, brought along military artefacts and medals to have their origins explained by Museum staff and the Queen’s Own Royal West Kent Regiment Living History Group.

‘We are looking forward to developing a partnership with the RBLI which will offer their residents greater access to our shared local heritage’: Simon Lace AMA, Museums and Heritage Manager

Museum staff and The Queen’s Own Royal West Kent Regiment Living History Group members, who attended in full uniform from various time periods and theatres of conflict, answered residents’ questions about the history of the local area, the artefacts on display and the Royal West Kent Regiment.

The event was rounded off with a visit to the Cenotaph War Memorial at Brenchley Gardens. Here the residents, having spent the morning learning and remembering about significant periods of history, were able to pay their respects in the tranquil setting of the Victorian gardens.

Community Health and Wellbeing Officer for RBLI, Nina Montoya said of the event, Maidstone Museum put on a fantastic morning for our veterans and residents. The residents greatly appreciated their expert knowledge and loved the enthusiasm and kindness shown by staff. Especially pleasing was that those residents who have limited mobility were very well looked after, as the museum is fully equipped to cater for their needs. ” 

‘I look forward to the continued partnership with the Museum and the local living history group throughout the next few years and am excited by the combined ideas from both parties for future events.’ Nina Montoya, Community Health and Wellbeing Officer

Simon Lace AMA, Museums and Heritage Manager, said of the collaboration, “We were delighted to welcome our visitors from RBLI and to have the opportunity to show them our fantastic new facilities and the full range of activities that we can now offer. We are looking forward to developing a partnership with the RBLI which will offer their residents greater access to our shared local heritage and allow the Museum, with the 100th anniversary of the outbreak of the Great War in 2014 on the horizon, to strengthen links with Armed Forces Veterans.”

For more information about RBLI or our accommodation for Veterans and their families please call 01622 795900 or visit For more information about events at Maidstone Museum please call 01622 602 838 or visit

Remembrance Service 11-11-11

Today RBLI paid its respect to heroes past and present with a short remembrance service followed by the traditional 2 minute silence acknowledging the commitment and sacrifice made by individuals and families to whom we owe the nations freedom.

Tracey Crouch MP for Chatham and Aylesford and Joyce Gadds, Chair of Aylesford Parish Council, joined me in laying wreaths at the Royal British Legion Village Memorial Garden.   Thank you to everyone who attended and helped us to honour our Armed Forces Communities.

Remembrance Day

This is the time of year when we all remember the bravery and sacrifice of our veterans, past and present, who have given so much to this nation.  Many have paid a very high price for their service and far too many have made the ultimate sacrifice.
Every one of us owes these brave men and women a debt of honour and that is why the work that we do everyday is so important.  We give people their lives back, installing a new found sense of pride and direction.  We enable people to start again.
I am proud of the work we do and proud to be part of an organisation like Royal British Legion Industries.  Every one of us should share that sense of pride and redouble our efforts to reach as many of those in need as possible.
“They shall not grow old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.”
Laurence Binyon, For the Fallen

The Royal Engineer’s Statue

36 Royal Engineer Regiment has been associated with the County Town of Maidstone for 60 years and to mark this year’s anniversary an appeal has been lodged to raise funds for a life-size bronze statue of an engineer from the regiment, commissioned by Mary Cox. The statue has been requested by the people of Maidstone, to commemorate the hard work that the regiment has contributed in the current tours, especially within Helmand. The trust aims to raise a total of £35,000 by November, when the statue is expected to be unveiled in Brenchley Gardens, Maidstone. 
I am genuinely pleased to announce that we have made a donation of £2000 to this appeal and am proud that we will be associated with this worthwhile cause.  Councillor Dan Daley a trustee of the Maidstone Trust, came to our Aylesford site to accept the donation.
Today many soldiers from Royal Engineers are on the front line in Afghanistan dealing with improvised explosive devises and our local regiment has lost six of its number in pursuit of this dangerous yet essential work, which no doubt has saved many more lives.
It was to assist those injured soldiers from the Continent in 1919 that we were established and today, we remain committed as ever to assisting those serving, and those who have served our country and therefore it seems entirely appropriate that some of the proceeds from our industries contribute to this noble and publicly spirited appeal.