IN a move that has caused “extreme disappointment”, the Royal British Legion has distanced itself from the LMS-Patriot Project, which aims to build a new example of the class as a National Memorial Engine.
Eight years after the project team was led to believe that the new-build, No. 5551 The Unknown Warrior, had British Legion endorsement, Legion officials have told it otherwise.
The project has now been told to stop claiming that it has British Legion endorsement and to stop using its crest on the nameplates.
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The “misunderstanding” made in good faith by the project stemmed from a 2009 meeting between company secretary Richard Sant, marketing and publicity director Stuart Gendall and the British Legion’s then director of corporate communications, Stuart Gendall.
A statement posted on the project’s www.lms-patriot.org.uk website said: “He told them that the Legion could not support the project financially, but endorsed our aims and said that we could use the Legion crest. We took him at his word and promoted the project accordingly, including the use of the crest.
“We wrote to the Legion earlier this year in order to reaffirm our relationship with them in light of the potential for our involvement in their Armistice Centenary events next year.
“In response, Terry Whittles, head of the Legion’s board of trustees, wrote to say that they had been unaware of the decisions taken by Mr Gendall, that he was not authorised to make them without consulting his board and he had not made the board aware of what he had done. Mr Whittles asked that we no longer claim the Legion’s endorsement and stop using the crest.
“The project board was shocked and surprised by this reaction and suggested a meeting with Mr Whittles at the Legion’s head office to explore ways of reaching a mutually acceptable solution.
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