Has anyone else seen the latest cut and paste message doing the rounds on social networks?

The old £1 coin isn’t legal tender anymore. However Poppy Sellers will accept them. £450M in circulation. Imagine what that would do for our veterans?
Please copy and paste into your status!!

Okay, fair enough. I know from having close dealings with them in recent years that the Royal British Legion is one of our finest charities. The work they carry out for those who have suffered after being in the armed services, as well as caring for many families, is astonishing. I worked with many RBL people in recent years and have been proud to do so. As ever, I read far too much into this simple social network post, but here goes. The RBL isn’t just here to sell poppies: it’s here for life.

The Royal British Legion is one of the charities that makes me feel uncomfortable. Not because of what they do because what they do is crucial to the well-being of those who have served our country but because charity exists only to pay for things we deem not important enough to pay for through our taxes. Now, that’s a fact. Granted that the RBL precedes things like the welfare state but that’s not the point. Brave servicemen and women serve our country, fight our wars for us, keep the peace for us and we reward them by not looking after them when things go wrong.

Oddly enough, the RBL doesn’t feel like a charity when you meet their workers and volunteers. On the contrary, they are an impressive, professionally run organisation with minimal overheads. Much more of the money you pay to them ends up with the people you want to help. This is not the same with all charities.

I would urge everyone to donate their unwanted old pound coins to charities, including the RBL. There are other charities too who are accepting the coins, like the Rainbow Trust which supports families with terminally ill children and Epilepsy Action. Imagine what that would do for families whose children are dying and those suffering from a ghastly condition such as epilepsy?

Better still, rather than think of current and former service personnel once a year, why not make a monthly payment, or a one-off lump sum? You can even volunteer to give up your free time by selling poppies. Why not do that? Anyone can volunteer to help a charity. It costs nothing and requires only slightly more energy than a cut and paste post on Facebook.