Royal British Legion trail celebrates stories of those who have served
- Credit: Danielle Booden
A long-serving veteran supported by the Royal British Legion (RBL) after suffering extensive hearing loss is just one of the stories which feature in a new walking trail launched near Norwich.
The Old Catton RBL branch opened its new trail on Saturday, May 8, in conjunction with the Legion’s 100th birthday and VE Day.
It follows on from the branch's successful poppy trail last year that culminated in the book Old Catton Remembers, featuring stories about the area’s Second World War fallen.
The trail, which runs for a fortnight, was launched at a family fun day on the recreation ground. Despite the wet weather, dozens enjoyed the activities on offer and 44 walkers took part in the 20-stop trail.
Lindsay Carruthers, chair of the branch, said: “We wanted to spread the message of how the RBL helps the armed forces family. So many people who have left don't realise they are eligible for help from the Legion throughout their lives. We wanted to reach people to let them know.
“We also wanted to tell the stories of those who have received life-changing help. That's where the Poppy Appeal donations go and we wanted to show that.”
Committee member and veteran Mike Fox, was helped after he applied to the Veterans Hearing Fund in 2019.
He retired from the Royal Air Force after 36 years, finishing as a warrant officer, where he worked in air traffic control from inside a caravan next to the runway and firing bird-scare explosion cartridges.
He was diagnosed with noise-induced severe bi-lateral high-frequency sensorineural hearing loss. With the RBL's help, he was awarded a grant and was able to purchase state-of-the-art hearing aids with a maintenance package.
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Mrs Carruthers added: “By putting on the event, we hoped to find some of our forces’ families living in the village - which we did. We were able to let them know that we're here if they need us.
“It has been a real community effort with something for everyone.”
As part of the trail, a wildflower poppy garden has been installed in Austen Way, created by the community with poppies painted with aeroplane-grade paint by Satys Air Delivery.