OVER 50 members of the Skipton branch of the Royal British Legion, their friends and families boarded a luxury coach in Skipton for a two-day, one night hotel stay and also taking in visits to the Royal Air Force Museum Cosford and the National Memorial Arboretum.

The museum, in Shropshire, is dedicated to the history of aviation and the Royal Air Force in particular. It is a non-departmental public body sponsored by the Ministry of Defence and a registered charity and spread over two sites; the other site is at the Royal Air Force Museum London at Colindale (near Hendon) in north London.

Chris Corner said: "In company with fellow members of Skipton Branch of the Royal British Legion, I enjoyed a splendid day visit to the RAF Museum at Cosford. The trip was well organised, the museum excellent and the company most convivial. A fine day had by all."

The overnight stay was at the Park House Hotel, in Shifnal, where Sally Green, recovery operations assistant manager from the Battle-Back centre was presented with a cheque for £500 from Barry Blood, Skipton RBL branch president.

The money will be used for exercise equipment which will speed up the recovery of those with serious injury.

After dinner, 10 new branch members were presented with Royal British Legion lapel badges.

At the National Memorial Arboretum (NMA) the following day the group met for a short-pre-recorded service of remembrance narrated by Jeremy Paxman and Barry Blood presented a cheque for £500 to Mark Ellis, the interim lead at the NMA.

After, many of the group took a trip on the land train and explored the grounds and the memorials.

George Martin, chairman of the Skipton RBL branch said: "It was extremely difficult to look at the names of my former colleagues inscribed on the Armed Forces Memorial. Two in particular were aircrew who made up the Vintage Pair Display Team which sadly crashed at an air show in 1986 killing them both."

Ben Turpin, chairman of the Royal Naval Association, said of his visit: "So much to see and take in. We found our visit a breathtaking experience, peaceful and emotional. This was made even more moving to be in the company of friends many of whom are veterans. We all had a bond with one memorial site or another and took time to visit these."

The largest memorial at the arboretum is the Armed Forces Memorial which is a nationally significant focus for remembrance and was created to remember and recognise those who have given their lives in the service of the country since the end of the Second World War.

Since 1948 the men and women of the armed services have taken part in more than 50 operations and conflicts around the world, often working as part of the United Nations, NATO or other coalitions.

Over 16,000 names are recorded on the memorial including those who have been killed whilst on duty, died in operational theatre or were targeted by terrorists. The names on the hundreds of panels that you will see are recorded in the same way, first by year, then by service – Royal Navy, Army and Royal Air Force, then in date order. Colleagues who died in the same incident are remembered together. Over 15,000 names were carved by computer when the memorial was created. There is space on the empty panels for 15,000 more names. Since 2007, the names have been engraved by hand on the memorial on a yearly basis.

The museum initially exhibited airframes which had been used for technical training at RAF Cosford. In the following years additional aircraft were added to the collection, and in 1980 it was agreed that the British Airways Collection be displayed.

The Cosford site includes several developmental aircraft such as those that led to the English Electric Lightning and the second prototype of the BAC TSR-2. A lot of the aircraft are very rare, such as the only Boulton Paul Defiant in the world and one of only two surviving Vickers Wellingtons left in the world.

The Skipton branch of the Royal British Legion is open to both veterens and non veterens and for further information, contact the branch secretary by emailing skipton.secretary@rbl.community