‘Le­gion gave me vi­tal break’ says ex-sol­dier

Macclesfield Express - - BEFORE THE BENCH - STU­ART GREER

AFORMER sol­dier is urg­ing the com­mu­nity to get be­hind this year’s Poppy Ap­peal.

An­drew Lang­don, 40, served in the Army for 20 years and had first hand ex­pe­ri­ence of the help the char­ity of­fers to veter­ans and their fam­i­lies.

In 2011, An­drew – a mar­ried fa­ther-of-one – took med­i­cal leave from the army to un­dergo a ma­jor op­er­a­tion. At the same time, his wife Jane was di­ag­nosed with can­cer.

An­drew, from Bolling­ton, spent the next year car­ing for her be­fore hear­ing about the Royal Bri­tish Le­gion’s Poppy Breaks ser­vice, which of­fers much-needed hol­i­days to ex-ser­vice and serv­ing per­son­nel and their fam­i­lies.

An­drew and the fam­ily en­joyed a week-long hol­i­day to Corn­wall in 2013, and on his re­turn he vowed to help the Le­gion once he left the Army.

A year later, he was made re­dun­dant and, true to his word, he joined the RBL.

He has since be­come a valu­able mem­ber of the Bolling­ton branch and served as chair­man for the last six months.

An­drew, who is also a town coun­cil­lor and will be­come Mayor of Bolling­ton next May, said: “The Poppy Break was ab­so­lutely fan­tas­tic, es­pe­cially af­ter ev­ery­thing we had been through with my own health prob­lems and my wife’s can­cer di­ag­no­sis. Thank­fully we are both do­ing okay so I wanted to say thanks to the Le­gion by join­ing a branch.

“I’m prob­a­bly one of the younger chair­men in the Le­gion and like to feel in­volved by spread­ing the word about what the char­ity does. I hon­estly didn’t know they of­fered hol­i­days to fam­i­lies, I al­ways thought the Le­gion only helped the older gen­er­a­tion of veter­ans. I am very ac­tive in sign­post­ing veter­ans and guid­ing them to help they may not have been aware they were en­ti­tled to. I’m very pas­sion­ate about let­ting other veter­ans know about the help the Le­gion pro­vides.” I talked to my wife Jane and we agreed that I’d sup­port the Royal Bri­tish Le­gion when I left the Forces and I’m very proud to do just that.”

An­drew served eight years with the Royal En­gi­neers, in­clud­ing a tour of North­ern Ire­land. He later trans­ferred to the Royal Lo­gis­tic Corps (RLC) for 12 year, end­ing as a cor­po­ral.

The Poppy Ap­peal is the RBL’s big­gest fundrais­ing cam­paign and sees the sale of iconic pa­per pop­pies to raise vi­tal funds to help the Armed Forces com­mu­nity.

The Bolling­ton Branch launched his year’s Poppy Ap­peal with a dis­play in the win­dow of Belfield’s Bak­ery, show­cas­ing the 100th an­niver­sary of the bat­tle of the Somme. Pic­tured are branch chair­man, Cllr An­drew Lang­don, Anne Belfield of Belfield’s Bak­ery, Va­lerie Thick­ett (PRO), Deryck Sut­ton (branch pres­i­dent) and Ruth Watkin (sec­re­tary)

An­drew Lang­don with his wife Jane and daugh­ter Nia.

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