Legion’s pilgrimage to Ypres for wreath laying

Alan King raising money for the Royal British Legion. Picture: Joyce Cooper

Alan King raising money for the Royal British Legion. Picture: Joyce Cooper - Credit: Archant

The First World War ended nearly 100 years ago but members of the Royal British Legion are making sure to remember those who fought by taking on a pilgrimage to Ypres, Belgium.

Retired farmers Joyce Cooper and her husband Brian, of the Stradbroke and District branch of the legion, are joining thousands on a pilgrimage of remembrance to the battlefield at Ypres.

There they will take part in a parade and ceremony to mark the First World War's centenary this August.

Mrs Cooper said: 'I'm really looking forward to the trip and representing the district.

'With Brian being born and bred in Stradbroke it is wonderful to have the chance to represent the community.'


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Mrs Cooper has been a member of the Royal Legion for 13 years and has travelled to Ypres before with her father and D-Day veteran Alan King.

The Royal British Legion event, known as Great Pilgrimage 90 (GP90), takes place between the August 5 and August 9 and will be one of the largest in the charity's history.

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Veterans will tour some of the same battlefields and cemeteries visited by those on the 1928 Pilgrimage, before marching along the original route through Ypres, to the Menin Gate bearing their branch standard and a wreath.

Mrs Cooper added: 'I keep joking with Barry because he has never really done any marching before.

'I joined the legion because of my father and it was always something we could do together.

'It is so important that we never forget the history and sacrifice that was made and we continue to support veterans young and old.'

GP90 will mark 90 years since the original Royal British Legion Pilgrimage in 1928, which saw 11,000 First World War veterans and war widows visit the battlefields in Somme, France and Ypres.

They will join more than 2,200 other Legion representatives and dignitaries, including Civic and military guests from the UK, Commonwealth and Northern Europe who are taking part.

Once at the Menin Gate, Mr Cooper will lay a wreath on behalf of the Stradbroke community.

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