Historic Beaumanor Hall, in Woodhouse, Loughborough, was chosen to host this year’s launch of the Royal British Legion (RBL), Leicestershire & Rutland Poppy Appeal.
The launch event, on Friday 25 October, saw the start of the commemorations to the fallen men and women who served during both World Wars and other conflicts.
Beaumanor Hall, the Victorian country house owned by the county council, was chosen for the launch by the local RBL because of its historic connections with the Second World War when it was used as a secret listening station by the Allies to intercept encrypted enemy signals.
We feel really honoured that the Royal British Legion hosted the launch of its local Poppy Appeal at Beaumanor Hall. It’s clear from Beaumanor’s history that the building itself and the people who worked there played a vital role in supporting the war effort and, to this day, we share the stories with the many people who visit the hallPerson:Pam Posnett, county council chairman
Guests at Friday’s launch included D-Day veteran Arthur Thompson, who served in the Royal Navy, and former French resistance member, Renee Warner.
The act of Remembrance was delivered by Colonel Robert Martin, president of the RBL in Leicestershire & Rutland.
Other dignitaries attending the event included Mike Kapur, the Lord Lieutenant of Leicestershire, his Rutland counterpart, Sarah Furness and Lord Mayor of Leicester, Annette Byrne.
Children from The Hall School, Glenfield were also at the event to hear first-hand accounts of the veterans’ involvement.
Helen Fairhead, community fundraiser at the local RBL, said “We’d been looking for a suitable venue for the Poppy Appeal launch and Beaumanor Hall was absolutely the right choice.
“Beaumanor is steeped in history, particularly the codebreakers who worked in the huts during Second World War in very difficult conditions. We paid tribute to those who worked tirelessly ‘behind the scenes’ to help with the war effort and to those unsung heroes whose stories are still untold to this very day.”
In 2018, the county council re-signed the Armed Forces Covenant, which sets out the county’s relationship with the armed forces, and the services it provides for current and former personnel and their families.
National and local commemorations will take place on Remembrance Sunday and Armistice Day, which fall on Sunday, November 10 and Monday, November 11 this year.