‘Proud’ to be representing legion branch in London

Service of Remembrance at Earby and Kelbrook War Memorial.  Pictured is standard bearer James Spence.

Service of Remembrance at Earby and Kelbrook War Memorial. Pictured is standard bearer James Spence.

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A standard bearer from Earby will represent the Royal British Legion at the annual Festival of Remembrance in London in November.

James Spence (50), of Rushton Avenue, is the standard bearer for the Barnoldswick and District branch and will be the first standard bearer ever to represent the branch at the Royal Albert Hall event.

Mr Spence served in the Army’s 5th Regiment Royal Artillery division between 1990 and 1997.

Based at Catterick, he was active in the first Gulf War and in Cyprus as part of a United Nations mission.

He became the standard bearer in 2010 when the late James Tattersall relinquished the role he had done for 35 years at the age of 90.

Mr Spence said: “I’m so happy to have been chosen. I received the email from Chairman of the Barnoldswick branch, and I’m over the moon at the news.

“I’m really looking forward to it. It is something I’ve wanted to do for a number of years.

“I’m the first from the area to be chosen and I’m one of only two from Lancashire who will be going down for it, so I’ll be representing both the branch and the county.

“It’s a real privilege to be the standard bearer. I enjoy it and it’s one of the highest honours you can be given in the Royal British Legion.

“All the family are well chuffed about it and I’ve had a lot of positive responses from friends congratulating me and I’ve had a nice letter from the MP Andrew Stephenson. I feel very proud.”

The Royal British Legion’s annual Festival of Remembrance takes place on Saturday, November 12th, the day before Remembrance Sunday. The festival commemorates all those who have lost their lives in conflicts.

There will be two performances, a matinee at 2pm and an evening performance at 7pm, the latter of which will be attended by the Royal Family.

Highlights of the performance which includes special guest artists, military bands and a drumhead service, will be broadcast on BBC TV and radio.