Name: Karen Pearson
Voluntary Position: Standard Bearer
Tell us about your life outside the Women’s Section. I work full-time for a property management company which specialises in retirement housing. The Women's Section takes up quite a lot of my time outside work but I enjoy gardening, cake decorating, reading and writing.
Why did you join the Women’s Section? My former mother-in-law is a member of our branch and I occasionally helped her out with the quiz evenings. I loved the social side of it but I was working irregular hours at the time so could rarely attend any event. As soon as my schedule changed, I joined.
Why did you become a Standard Bearer? I was always moved by ceremonial side of Remembrance events. Watching the Standards dipping to the last post always brought a lump to my throat, so as soon as I became a member and had the opportunity to train as a Standard Bearer, I jumped at the chance.
What’s the most rewarding aspect about being a Standard Bearer? The pride I feel every time I put on the uniform and pick up a Standard – whether for my branch or county. The ceremonial side of the Legion is exceptionally important as it’s a visual reminder to people all year round of why we do what we do. It’s an honour to represent the Women’s Section in this way and acknowledging the sacrifices our Armed Forces have made.
What has been your most memorable parade? The RBL 90th Anniversary Concert held in Portsmouth Cathedral last year. The whole thing was spectacular. As we performed a slow march with the Royal Corps of Drums, the band played “Hymn to the Fallen” and scenes from Wootton Bassett were shown on a big screen. It was a very moving event and a moment I’ll never forget.
What’s the biggest challenge in Standard Bearing? Very windy weather! The Standards are quite heavy, so in blustery conditions, it’s incredibly difficult to perform the moves in a controlled and dignified manner.
How often do you represent your branch as a Standard Bearer? I attend around 25 events a year with either our branch or county Standard. That’s everything from parades, Remembrance services, funerals, concerts, conferences and competitions.
What other activities do you do for the WS? I get involved in all the fundraising events our branch organises – we have coffee mornings, fetes, duck races and social evenings. I also still set the questions for the annual quiz night and I am just about to become Branch Treasurer.
Why would you encourage people to join? Because we need all the help we can get to raise the funds needed for our Service personnel and their families. Also, it’s a fantastic way to meet new people and make friends. I have made so many friends in both the Women’s Section and the RBL and there is so much support and kindness. And there’s a great camaraderie among all the Standard Bearers!