Service Not Self

Friday, 22 July 2011 Current Issue By  Bert Elson

Royal British Legion turned 90 this year

“Service not Self” is the motto of the Royal British Legion, which turned 90 years old this year. Celebrations were held wherever there is a branch of the Legion, including Thailand.

That same motto can also be applied to those that in fact help the Legion and on our birthday here in Pattaya we recognised two such groups, Peter Malhotra of the Pattaya Mail Media Group and Vic King and Mathew Johnstone of the Queen Vic/MatVic Butchers who were all presented with a “Friend of the Legion” Certificate sent from our head office in London. Both certificates were signed by the national president and national chairman of the Royal British Legion.

Graham Macdonald the president of the Royal British Legion Chonburi Thailand presents Peter Malhotra, the managing director of Pattaya Mail Media Group with a “Friend of the Legion” Certificate.

Graham Macdonald the president of the Royal British Legion Chonburi Thailand presents Peter Malhotra, the managing director of Pattaya Mail Media Group with a “Friend of the Legion” Certificate.

For those that don’t know, the Legion came into existence in 1921 to care for ex-servicemen and women from WWI. That same work and more is still carried out today and our role is to care for those who have served or are serving in the UK Armed Forces and/or their dependants. To carry out this work we need a number of things: funds of course, members and volunteers to carry out our welfare work and the support of the local community. Both Pattaya Mail and Queen Vic/MatVic Butchers have given that support in different ways.

If we are to help what we call our “beneficiaries” (Those who have served) or their “dependants” (wives and children), then we need to be known about. People need to know where and when to come, not just perhaps to donate funds but also to receive help should they need it. The Pattaya Mail has always provided that avenue of information for us since day one of our formation, without charge and without any question of paid advertising. They have both highlighted our needs and given details of our events and meetings. They are indeed a “Friend of the Legion”.

Bert Elson the secretary & welfare chairman of the Royal British legion Thailand joins president Graham Macdonald in presenting Vic King  with his “Friend of the Legion” Certificate.

Bert Elson the secretary & welfare chairman of the Royal British legion Thailand joins president Graham Macdonald in presenting Vic King  with his “Friend of the Legion” Certificate.

The managing director of Pattaya Mail, Peter Malhotra expressed his heartfelt gratitude saying that is was indeed an honour to receive this recognition from the Royal British Legion. He said, “I am well aware of the importance of the media and how it can help organisations such the Royal British Legion in attaining their worthy goals.” He went on to say that it was his moral duty as a human being to help those who dedicate their lives for others and this is the case with the Royal British Legion and for those veterans that they take care of. Peter added, “I am humbled to learn the British Legion here in Thailand aids Thai widows and even non British veterans, not to mention many other charitable projects in our country.”

Buddy Ditchburn, George Barrie, John Hocking – members attending the general meeting before the presentation.

Buddy Ditchburn, George Barrie, John Hocking – members attending the general meeting before the presentation.

The Queen Victoria Inn, thanks to Vic and Mathew, have always helped us in another way that is equally important, funds. We don’t just care for elderly veterans, we have assisted young and old, for there are a lot of younger veterans out there now. Some of the things we have provided are pension top up’s, immediate need grants, repatriations, hospital and housebound visits and many other benefits.

We have also provided care and advice to their Thai wives should they unfortunately die; we ensure they receive any pensions or allowances due, we have paid for funerals and ensured that any children continue schooling by paying for school fees, uniforms and books. The list is endless and the Queen Vic along with all its supporters on their 10th Birthday Party help us to continue carrying out that work. They raised a total of 118,000 on our joint birthday party (half of this was by one donation - well done John Clarke!). All of that will go into our 2011 Poppy Appeal and used for our welfare work in Thailand, for we do in fact cover the whole of Thailand. Thank you to the Queen Vic, another “Friend of the Legion”.

Dave Haddon, John Hocking, Bob Myers listen to Bert Elson updating the members on the activities of the Royal British Legion in Thailand.

If I may end by giving a couple of tips that may help all expats here of whatever nationality:

A. Get yourself some form of medical insurance. Even a very basic one may save your life because one day it WILL happen to you.

B. Many of you do not have medical insurance because you are financially secure. That’s fine for when you don’t feel well and go to hospital or are aware of what’s going on. What about if you have an accident or a stroke that leaves you in a coma, and you live alone or have never given PIN numbers or bank details to you wife? You’ve never bothered as of course it was never going to happen to you. You may as well be destitute and that’s the way you may be treated. Please make a note of all your personal details and give them to someone you trust. It really can be not only a nightmare trying to sort things out for those in this position but also very distressing so once again, please prepare for it.

That’s my moan over, why don’t you join the Legion … we have our own “IN Confidence” forms that you can fill in and are kept in a safe until needed. We meet every Saturday from 2 p.m. at tropical Bert’s on 2nd Road.  Contact: Bert Elson 089 8072335.


 

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