Latest News Resolutions: An interview with the CEO 2021 was a big year for Legion Scotland – our centenary. Did celebrations go as you expected? I think it’s fair to say, as in 2020, that nothing has gone as expected. But it did not stop us launching our centenary in June and following that up with a range of activities, including our online auction, commemorative stamp covers and range of centenary merchandise. The launch on 18 June saw branches and supporters across the country join our online broadcast and lay more than 100 centenary wreaths all across Scotland. A commemorative fundraising coin was revealed in the summer, and our postponed centenary concert finally took place on 28 November at the Parish of St Cuthbert in Edinburgh. Despite the challenges everyone has faced this year, the events have been well supported. It has been great to hear news of what some of our branches have been doing at a local level to mark the centenary in their own way – especially those branches who have had their 100th birthday this year as well. What was most important to you in marking the anniversary? As an organisation the Legion has been here to help veterans and their families in Scotland for the last 100 years. The difference our members and volunteers have made in the lives of many during this time has been tremendous. Although our work has adapted over the years to suit the changing needs of our Armed Forces Community, the focus remains the same – to provide membership and comradeship as well as to mark key military commemorations and perpetuate the memory of those who made the ultimate sacrifice at Remembrance each year. The Legion has, and always will be, an integral part of local communities across Scotland and the centenary year has been an excellent opportunity to continue to raise awareness of our work and presence across the country. What was your highlight of the year? It’s hard to pick just one, but I would have to say the centenary concert at St Cuthbert’s was fantastic. After so much being postponed or cancelled it was great to finally bring everyone together to reflect on the last 100 years and to tell the story of the Legion and the conflicts over this time through music, song and poetry. The event had great support and its success was only possible thanks to the collaborative effort of so many different people. What does 2022 hold for the organisation? As always there are challenges and changes ahead. We can never sit still for too long and we must continually adapt our service delivery and support to remain vibrant and relevant. We have a full programme of events planned, which we hope will go ahead. This includes our annual conference in Perth and marking the Falklands 40th anniversary. As we continue to navigate through the longer-term effects of the pandemic, our branches and clubs still have challenges ahead – to provide the membership with the support required and to ensure veterans in their community know the Legion is there for them. We also bid farewell to our National President Sir Alistair Irwin and welcome a new National President, Rear Admiral Mark Beverstock. What do you think was the most important impact that Sir Alistair made on Legion Scotland? Sir Alistair was a tremendous guiding force for the organisation. Over the last 16 years he has seen us through highs and lows and numerous challenges. He provided a constant source of knowledge and wisdom to steer the organisation on the right path and has always been a voice of reason and an influence for good. What can we expect from incoming president Mark Beverstock? I know our incoming National President is acutely aware of the challenges we face. He is very keen that we build better connections with the serving Armed Forces community and those coming through transition, to raise awareness of the Legion and the support available for those coming out of service. He is keen too that we raise awareness of our work with a younger demographic and that we enhance engagement with the cadets and other youth organisations. At a time when we are reviewing all our services and delivery methods to ensure future sustainability, it will be hugely beneficial to have a fresh pair of eyes on all our work and to draw on his extensive skills and experience to guide us in the right direction. What are your main goals for Legion Scotland in 2022? Our biggest challenge has been the retention of members, so I really want to see everyone in our network reach out to past and new members to welcome them to the Legion family. The pandemic has affected our membership numbers badly and I would hope to see this begin to reverse next year. I also think communication and support can always be improved. If we all pull together to share information and keep members and supporters informed on what is going on, then we can rise to any challenges that come our way. Engagement is also key to the success of our work and I really want to see everyone connecting with the wealth of information we provide online and in print so that we all know what we need to achieve next year to move the organisation forward. And do you have any personal new year’s resolutions? If the last 18 months have taught me anything, it is to take nothing for granted and to always be grateful. So, looking ahead to 2022, gratitude is top of my list to practise daily. I also want to ensure I am mindful of all I have, and to be thankful for the people around me and their health and safety. Life is so busy, and we always seem to be juggling so much both personally and professionally. So I also want to commit to making time for what is important and to pause and reflect on all I have to be thankful for.