Say hello to our Events Manager!

There’s a team of 10 people working to support our CEO Dr Claire Armstrong at head office in Edinburgh. The team are also here to support you, and to that end, we are launching a new series that will tell you more about their work. 

This month, meet Brian Ward, our Events Manager who is responsible for Legion Scotland events including the national Remembrance services in November and other commemorations year-round. He is also the coordinator of the annual national sports competition, standard bearing competition, and the Best Kept War Memorial campaign. 

The former Scots Guards WO2 values working at Legion Scotland because it gives him a “link back to the forces”. 

“I enjoy the challenges of putting together one-off events from scratch in a safe and appropriate way,” Brian says. “Each event has a lot of different moving parts that all need to come together on the day and every event is challenging in its own way. 

“As we return to live events, we find ourselves in a position where there is an ever-increasing number of people required to assist us with events so that they can go ahead safely. We will shortly be asking members to put their names forward to assist us whenever they can – even if some volunteers are only able to help with one or two events in a year, it would still make a huge difference for us.” 

You can contact Brian by phoning 0131 550 1583 or emailing [email protected]

Say hello to our Events Support!

For the last two years, former cadet William Millar has been supporting Brian Ward in our events team. William will often be the person you get in touch with to RSVP an event, and he deals with a lot of the administration for events – for example, ordering wreaths and liaising with the Poppy Factory and other military charities and organisations.

 For most of that time, the world has been facing the impact of the pandemic. Now, with restrictions easing off, it’s time to think about returning to more in-person events.

 “I have enjoyed everything I have been a part of at Legion Scotland,” Millar says. “But one thing that will always stand out to me was seeing the smile on the faces of veterans and their families when we were delivering the VE/VJ 75th anniversary coins, hearing their stories of their time in the services.”

 Millar has also spoken fondly of correspondence that he and Ward received from attendees of the Legion Scotland centenary concert. “It made all the planning worthwhile,” he says.

 Already, there are plans in place for new and returning events in 2022. Such an ambitious programme will call on renewed focus in the Comradeship, Events and Remembrance team. “I think the biggest challenge we have is making each event bigger and better than the year before, and also returning to the full calendar of events of previous years.”

 If you ever want to contact the events team, call 0131 550 1562 or email [email protected]

Say hello to our Office Manager!

For the next few instalments of Meet the Team we’ll be looking at the Membership, Accounts and Administration team, which offers support across Head Office and beyond.

We start with Office Manager Gareth Laidlaw. Gareth’s responsibilities range from being a first point of contact for general enquiries, managing the team’s IT, HR and health and safety needs and acting as data protection officer, to assisting the CEO and organising the monthly email Bulletin for members.

As one of the newest members of the team, he has huge appreciation of how supportive the staff are of one another.

“The work environment is second to none," Gareth says. "Each member of the team has the focus of their role but will always step up to assist one another. This could be anything from events planning to filling envelopes. This sort of effort is a great show of just how willing the office team are in delivering success for our membership."

One of Gareth’s favourite things about his role is how public-facing it is. He explains, “As the first point of contact chatting to members of the public and community, I get first-hand experience of their queries. I then help them to manage any issues or guide them to any advice they might require.”

Gareth comes from a military family. His father served in the Royal Artillery and he worked his way up through the cadets at a young age. This experience has shaped his passion. He adds, “I’ve seen the difficulties of my father leaving the forces at a time were not many qualifications were available. I want to help resolve that divide in any way that I can within the Legion and Armed Forces community.”

To get in touch with the Membership, Accounts and Administration team, call 0131 322 1076 or email [email protected]