The RBL’s specialist service: How collectors can make a difference

Since 2004 The Westminster Collection has been proud partners with the Royal British Legion, and throughout that time collectors like you have raised a remarkable £1.25 MILLION for the organisation!

This is an incredible amount that could enable the RBL’s dedicated frontline advisors to help over 7,590 people in the Armed Forces community and their families get access to the help that they need.

To mark this milestone, earlier this year we had the pleasure of presenting the Royal British Legion with a cheque from collectors for the staggering amount.

We also had the pleasure of meeting Robert Benham, Regional Lead – Admiral Nursing – Hampshire, who told us all about the important work of the RBL Admiral Nurse Service.

The Westminster Collection raises 1.25 million for The Royal British Legion - The RBL’s specialist service: How collectors can make a difference

And in today’s blog, we explain more about the specialist Admiral Nurse Service and share the story of Dorothy and Angus Weir…

What is the Admiral Nurses Service?

The Royal British Legion works in partnership with Dementia UK to provide Admiral Nurses – a specialist service helping the Armed Forces community and their families living with dementia.

RBL’s Admiral Nurses Service has been supporting families living with dementia since 2012, giving personalised and holistic support to the whole family. RBL Admiral Nurses give one-to-one support, expert guidance, and practical solutions to help the family to live well with their diagnosis and face the future with more confidence.

RBL nurses work in the community, supporting families through home visits and through telephone and video contact. Each family we support is under the care of a dedicated Admiral Nurse, who will support them throughout their time with the service.

Dorothy and Helen RBL Admiral Nurse Service - The RBL’s specialist service: How collectors can make a difference

Each nurse provides a range of support, advice, advocacy, and education to families, including:

  • Identifying potential needs amongst carers (such as depression and anxiety) that are often pushed into the background and arrange for or provide appropriate support.
  • Working with carers to build their confidence in their caring role and improve their mental wellbeing (for example reducing their feelings of loneliness and isolation… We support them to re-establish their relationship as a spouse, as well as supporting their role as a carer.
  • Listening to families’ concerns, helping to identify practical solutions to reduce the fear and stress faced by carers.
  • Explaining the reasoning behind advice given to the family by other professionals, helping to make complex information easily understandable during times of great difficulty.
  • Advocating for families, liaising with other bodies (such as GPs and community mental health teams) to make sure all the necessary support is in place.
  • Helping families prepare for end-of-life care or a move into a care home, and supporting them to transition and adjust to their new circumstances.

Each RBL Admiral Nurse supports approximately 45 families at any one time.

You can find out more about the RBL Admiral Nurses Service here.

Dorothy and Angus Weir

Dorothy lives in Swansea with her husband of 49 years, Angus. Dorothy’s family is steeped in military history, going back five generations. She grew up with a father who served in the Second World War, and a grandfather who served too.

Angus served in the Army with the 15th 19th The Kings Road Hussars for around 10 years, with postings in Germany, France, Norway and Libya.

Sadly, Angus has several health problems including bipolar disorder, vascular dementia and Alzheimer’s.

Dorothy is his sole carer.

“Caring for Angus impacts my life massively,” says Dorothy. “His long-term memory is brilliant – he can talk about his time in the Army until the cows come home! But, he can’t tell you what happened yesterday.”

Dorothy and Angus RBL Admiral Nursing - The RBL’s specialist service: How collectors can make a difference

Last year, Dorothy was put in touch with the RBL’s Admiral Nurse service and since then they have provided her with practical advice, and emotional and psychological support.

Dorothy says: “When you become a carer for someone, that’s what identifies you. Even my children would describe me as ‘Dad’s carer’, so you lose some of who you are. The mental health team treated me as a carer, not as a wife, but Helen my Admiral Nurse focuses on me as me, as my own person.”

“She [Helen] talks to me about dementia, how it works, and has given me a lot of information I didn’t know.

“That helps me cope because I can understand what Angus is doing.

“We don’t just talk about Angus, we talk about crafting and our similar interests, which I don’t normally get to talk to about with anybody.

“I also talk to her about feeling lonely,” Dorothy adds. “I can have all the children here and still feel a bit lonely, and she understands that.

The funds raised by The Westminster Collection through sales of the Poppy Coins helps the Royal British Legion continue to provide its life-changing services like the Admiral Nurses.

Introducing the Official 2023 RBL Coin Range

For nearly 20 years, we’ve been proud to support the Royal British Legion, issuing coins and commemoratives in partnership of the organisation.

And we have just revealed this year’s, fully approved, one-year-only design

By ordering today, you’ll be directly supporting the RBL, allowing the charity to continue its incredible work providing financial, social and life-long support for the Armed Forces community.

AT RBL Poppy 2023 Coin Range Images V2 1 1024x386 - The RBL’s specialist service: How collectors can make a difference

Prices start from JUST £25 (+p&p) – Click here to view the range >>

The story behind this year’s RBL Masterpiece Poppy Coin

Want to know how a 1945 British Army Mess Tin, a WWII Spitfire and a D-Day Landing Craft have been repurposed to serve as a poignant tribute to the fallen? Keep reading to find out.

Since 2004, The Westminster Collection has felt honored to be in partnership with the Royal British Legion, supporting them year on year by raising funds which enable them to continue to provide financial, social and emotional support to members and veterans of the UK Armed Forces, their families and dependents.

In support of the Royal British Legion, each year we produce a stand-out coin to mark Remembrance Day. We call it the Masterpiece’.

And now, we’re excited to announce details of this year’s ‘Masterpiece’ coin

When you discover the story behind the metal used to create this coin, you’ll quickly realize that it’s one of the most unique and historically fascinating coins ever released. It really does live up to its name.

The Masterpiece

As this year marks the Centenary of the Royal British Legion, an exceptional Masterpiece Poppy Coin has been released, commemorating this important milestone. It represents the three military facets of RBL ─ the Army, RAF and the Navy.

This is why we commissioned a three-dimensional1921 stylePoppy to be crafted from three pieces of historic metal representing the three divisions of the military:

1. WWII Spitfire ─ to be precise, the MK356, which flew during the D-Day campaign and shot down a German Me Bf109

2. A British Army Mess Tin from 1945

3. Landing Craft LCT7074 ─ the actual craft that landed on Gold Beach during D-Day

Historic Metals ─ crafted into a Masterpiece…

We acquired the craft metal with the kind assistance of the National Museum of the Royal Navy at Portsmouth, allowing us to source the substance from the original steel plating of the landing craft LCT 7074. LCT 7074 landed on Gold Beach on D-Day, 6th June 1944, and the plating used is from the hull that was physically in contact with the actual beach on D-Day itself. Today, LCT is the only surviving Landing Craft Tank left from this momentous day.

You may notice dark spots visible within the red enamel of some Poppies ─ and these are the filings from the historic LCT 7074 Steel.

The material used derived from Army origins is a combination of ex-MK356 metal and 1945 dated ex-British Army Mess Tins, mixed to a 50:50 ratio. The MK-356, officially named the Spitfire Mk IX, took an active part in D-Day operations in June 1944. The original wing main spar was removed around the year 2008, and it is this metal that has been combined with the Mess Tins.

Mess tins were and still are used for a number of different things within the Army. Soldiers use them to heat food, eat from, boil water and to wash and shave in. They can be cleaned easily and used for storage of other items.

During the Second World War, aluminum was a scarce commodity primarily reserved for aircraft production, and whilst perhaps not as romantic as the Spitfire, these tins are significant items ─ because an army marches on its stomach!

What’s more, it has been struck from 5oz of fine 999/1000 Silver and is an impressive 65mm in diameter!

If you’re interested…

This year’s Masterpiece Poppy Coin it is now available to order. Click here to add one to your collection today >>

2021 Jersey Masterpiece Poppy Antique Silver Coin - The story behind this year's RBL Masterpiece Poppy Coin
2021 Masterpiece Poppy Coin

100 Years of Remembrance: Honouring the Centenary of the Royal British Legion

2021 marks the centenary of the Royal British Legion. For 100 years the Royal British Legion (RBL) has been providing financial, social and life-long support to the Armed Forces community.

Established out of the need to provide care for those who had fought during the First World War and returned home needing assistance, RBL has been a support system and helping hand for many across the years.

Since 2004 The Westminster Collection has been proud partners with the Royal British Legion, and throughout that time our collectors have raised over £1.1 million for the organisation.

This staggering contribution has been crucial in allowing us to continue providing vital welfare services to veterans and their families.

Charles Byrne – Director General, Royal British Legion

In this special centenary year, we look back over RBL’s history, their achievements, and our continued relationship with this vital organisation.

The history of the Poppy

Out of destroyed fields left barren from the First World War, beautiful red Flanders poppies began to grow. This is what gave Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae inspiration to write the poem ‘In Flanders Fields‘.

Spearheaded by Moina Michael and Anna Guérin, the poppy was adopted across the globe as a symbol of Remembrance. Both Michael and Guérin produced poppies, and together, nine million poppies were produced and sold in 1921, raising more than £106,000 which went towards aiding ex-Servicemen.

Interestingly, due to the poppies being produced by different manufacturers and in separate countries, their appearance became quite different.

Jersey 2021 BU 50p RBL 1921 poppy both sides - 100 Years of Remembrance: Honouring the Centenary of the Royal British Legion
A 50p coin inspired by the 1921 poppy – part of The RBL Centenary BU Colour 50p Pair

Those made in France were vivid red, simple, made from fabric and with a little green stalk. They included two messages on them which were ‘British Legion Remembrance Day’ and ‘Made by the Women and Children. The devastated areas of France.’

Whereas, the ones produced in Britain had a total number of five petals made from silk, with black stitching, little beads and a leaf.

The poppy design has changed a lot over the past 100 years; today it comprises of two red paper petals with a black centre and green paper leaf. But the meaning behind the symbol remains the same, and now, an amazing forty million poppies are dispersed globally each year.

Jersey 2021 BU 50p RBL Modern poppy colour print both sides - 100 Years of Remembrance: Honouring the Centenary of the Royal British Legion
The modern-day poppy depicted on a 50p coin – part of The RBL Centenary BU Colour 50p Pair

RBL: 1921 – 2021

From the very beginning, the Royal British Legion has given their undivided attention to helping veterans as they believe that “no-one should suffer for having served others”.

Since then, RBL has worked tirelessly to honour that promise. Here are just some of the fantastic things they have achieved over the past 100 years.

The first TB hospital

Tuberculosis (TB) was one of the most serious health issues experienced after the First World War, resulting in the deaths of 18,000 returning servicemen. To help treat patients, RBL set up the very first British TB hospital, providing much-needed treatment to patients and also providing jobs and housing to servicemen and their families.

The village surrounding this hospital is now a thriving community which still supports the RBL to this day, producing 20 million Remembrance poppies every year.

Rehabilitation centres

RBL has funded many rehabilitation centres to provide much-needed support to veterans and members of the Armed Forces. Their services include wellbeing courses, and a whole host of activities aimed at building camaraderie such as:

  • Archery
  • Mountain biking
  • Wheelchair basketball

They have also part-funded The Defence Medical Rehabilitation Centre which houses the Royal British Legion Complex Trauma Gym, open for patients to participate in fitness activities which aim to increase their mobility and help them to regain independence.

Kingsman Anthony Cooper 1 - 100 Years of Remembrance: Honouring the Centenary of the Royal British Legion
Kingsman Anthony Cooper has been supported by RBL and is hoping to enter the Paralympics

COVID-19 support

More recently, RBL have been supporting the Armed Forces community during the COVID-19 pandemic. To help with a dramatic increase in calls for accessing food, RBL extended their Benefit, Debt and Money Advice Service. Another vital service utilised during the pandemic has been RBL’s Telephone Buddies scheme, which offers companionship and support to anyone feeling lonely or isolated.

Since 1921, the RBL has gained 180,000 members and 110,000 volunteers, making them the nation’s largest Armed Forces charity.

Working hard to ensure that the Armed Forces community have a voice, they communicate with members of parliament and officials to establish the representation the community deserve. Transitioning to civilian life can be difficult for ex-serving personnel and that’s why RBL continue to be there to provide lifelong support to them and their families, offering advice and guidance but also rehabilitation and recovery activities.

RBL’s Partnership with The Westminster Collection

Since 2004, The Westminster Collection has been honoured to produce annual poppy coins in collaboration with the Royal British Legion. From Brilliant Uncirculated coins, to intricate Masterpiece coins, these are one-of-a-kind designs and are as unique as they are beautiful.

A selection of just some of the Poppy Coins weve designed and released - 100 Years of Remembrance: Honouring the Centenary of the Royal British Legion
A selection of just some of the Poppy Coins we’ve designed and released

Over the past 17 years, collectors have shown their support to the RBL through purchasing these annual coin designs to take pride of place in their collections. 10% of any sales are contributed directly to RBL to support their vital work with the Armed Forces community.

We would like to thank our collectors for continuing to show their support to the RBL and help them to provide financial, social and emotional support to all who have served and are currently serving in the British Armed Forces and their families.

The 2021 Poppy Coin Collection

In this milestone anniversary year a new, very special design has been issued to commemorate RBL’s centenary.

Jersey 2021 Poppy 1921 and modern Jersey 5 CuNi Proof Gold Plated print both sides - 100 Years of Remembrance: Honouring the Centenary of the Royal British Legion
The 2021 Poppy Coin in honour of Royal British Legion’s 100 year anniversary

The design perfectly illustrates RBL’s centenary year, featuring the 1921 RBL Poppy alongside the iconic modern day poppy. The reverse also includes the messages ‘We will remember them’ and ‘100 years’.

‘We will remember them’ was chosen because it is a significant line taken from the poem ‘For the Fallen’ written by Lauren Binyon in 1914. ‘For the Fallen’ endures as a dignified and solemn expression of loss.

This year’s design brings both the past and present together, acknowledging all of the outstanding work the Royal British Legion has done throughout the past 100 years – and will continue to do so for many more.

If you’re interested…

Take a closer look at this year’s coins in the video below, and if you’d like to own one of this year’s commemorative Poppy coins you can shop the complete range here >>