Legion stalwarts given medals

A PAIR of the British Legion's finest have been rewarded for their tireless work raising funds and awareness for the services and ex-service community.

A PAIR of the British Legion's finest have been rewarded for their tireless work raising funds and awareness for the services and ex-service community.

The golden duo have raised thousands for the Poppy Appeal during their combined decades in the Royal British Legion.

Bob Farrow and Ronnie Markwell, both members of the Witnesham and District branch, were handed the prestigious awards by county chair Pete Gipson at the village's Barley Mow pub.

Mr Markwell has been Treasurer of the Branch for the last 15 years and been involved with all aspects of Branch activities.


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He also has a great talent for amateur public entertainment with his own brand of stand up comedy and has used this talent to swell the coffers of the branch and the Poppy Appeal on many occasions.

His regular summer variety shows at the Spa Pavilion in Felixstowe have always had the Legion as the main beneficiary with a considerable sum going to the Poppy Appeal.

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In 2008, Mr Markwell took on the organisation and leadership of the Felixstowe Festival of Remembrance which has proved to be an extremely successful and popular event in Suffolk and has increased the standing of the Legion in the county.

Mr Farrow joined the branch in 1975 following his discharge from the Royal Air Force and took over as secretary and treasurer for several years.

At that time, the branch was on the point of folding through lack of members but he was determined to keep the branch going and, single-handedly, set about recruiting members (including Mr Markwell) to bring the branch back from the edge of extinction and it is to his credit that currently, membership of the branch stands at over 70 members.

He took over as organiser of the house-to-house collections for the Poppy Appeal at the same time but has now handed on the task for others to continue after more than 30 years.

John Bradbury Witnesham and district chair said: “They've both done a hell of a lot for the legion and especially the poppy appeal.

“Bob and Ronnie are very modest characters and don't shout about what they have done.

“The gold medal is the highest accolade we can give them. It's not something we hand out willy-nilly. It's the equivalent of getting a Victoria Cross in the forces.

Have you been rewarded for your dedication to the community? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

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