Lifetime achievement honour for Royal British Legion’s longest-serving standard bearer

Event hosts Jeremy Vine and Vicki Michelle MBE with Brett Lovegrove, award sponsor and chief executive of CSARN, Neil Deaville and the Rt Hon Earl Howe, charity patron of the Soldiering On Awards.
Event hosts Jeremy Vine and Vicki Michelle MBE with Brett Lovegrove, award sponsor and chief executive of CSARN, Neil Deaville and the Rt Hon Earl Howe, charity patron of the Soldiering On Awards.

The country’s longest-serving standard bearer for the Royal British Legion has celebrated winning a national award.

Neil Deaville, from the Hayfield branch of the legion, won the Lifetime Achievement prize at the 2018 Soldiering On Awards in London.

He joined the legion at the age of 28 and has been carrying the standard for 55 continuous years. He is also the branch president and is heavily involved in the poppy appeal.

Neil said: “I am so honoured and at the same time very humbled to have been even nominated for such a prestigious award as there are so many people who have done more.

“I have given 55 years’ service to the legion and our veterans - including remembrance days in the cold and wet - and if I had a choice to do it all again I certainly would.

“Thank you to all our armed forces past and present, you all have, and do, a fantastic job. Thanks must also go to my branch for honouring me in such a way.”

Neil was one of three finalists for the award, but was crowned as the outright winner in honour of his long service and dedication.

Lord Howe, who presented Neil with his award, said it was amazing to see so much great work undertaken by so many people from across the UK, and that he was privileged to be able to honour and thank them.

Neil is already planning his next project for the legion. In August he will join branch chairman Lance Dowson at a centenary parade in Belgium to mark the end of the Great War.