The Royal British Legion, now celebrating its 75th anniversary, has
appointed its first head of communications as part of the returned
servicemen’s charity’s plans to relaunch itself.
Charles Lewis, corporate communications director at British Steel since
1990, has taken on the new post heading up the seven strong team, four
of whom work on the charity’s bi-monthly magazine.
Lewis left British Steel last month following a reorganisation. His role
is now split between John Bowden, director of investor and media
relations, and Geoff Hooker, director of market and product development,
as the company seeks to focus its public relations effort on the City
Lewis joins the Legion as it is in the process of reshaping itself in
the wake of the Gulf War and the fight for recognition and compensation
for victims of the debilitating Gulf War Syndrome.
Two of the Royal Legion’s key objectives are to lower the average age of
Legion members and to ensure that the general public does not regard
last year’s 50th anniversary of the second world war as the closing
chapter in the remembrance of sacrifices made by servicemen and women.
Lewis said that he was ‘re-appraising‘ the use of external public
relations consultancies. Warwick Corporate’s Brian Basham has been
carrying out unpaid ad hoc work for the charity.
No political lobbyists are used as the Legion ‘prefers to use its own
people’. The Legion has 750,000 members, 3,000 branches, and 750 staff
and a turnover of pounds 30 million.
Lewis said he took the job because, after a career spanning several blue
chip companies, from retail to the chemicals industry, he ‘wanted to put
something back in.’