Royal British Legion launches appeal for younger members

First published in News Kidderminster Shuttle: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter

AN APPEAL by the Royal British Legion’s Kidderminster branch has been launched in the hope of getting young people to become members of the group.

Peter Dunn, secretary, wants the branch to increase their membership as he feels without introducing young people the group could cease to exist.

Mr Dunn said: “The current branch membership totals 73 of whom only 13 can be described being young or younger.

“The remainder, including the current ‘active’ group, averaging 10 members, are not only mostly OAPs but octogenarians and nonagenarians.”

The branch is in need of recruiting younger members as its former Treasurer and Social Secretary, Henry Atkins, who had been carrying out the job for the past 15 years, had to leave his role due to heart problems.

Mr Dunn said there is no obvious or willing replacement for Henry from within the branch.

“Henry has kindly offered to help tutor anyone with the time and commitment to undertake treasury duties,” he said.

Mr Dunn said he hopes people would respond to the appeal as the legion plays a key role in the lives of former members of the armed forces, in particular with the yearly poppy appeal.

“The Royal British Legion exists to give help to the whole community of past members of HM Armed Forces, including the recently disbanded and their families,” he said.

“The town’s response to the poppy appeal over the past few years has been quite exemplary, the population having successively donated annual amounts more than £35,000.

“This is the biggest collection in the county – even more than Worcester – so we know there are people who could support the legion by becoming members.”

After a succession of recent temporary bases, the Kidderminster branch has now found a permanent home at the Reserve Forces and Cadet Associations Centre in Birmingham Road.

Here the group meet at 7pm on the last Tuesday of every month, which Mr Dunn hopes will entice members of the reserve forces to stay behind and become part of the branch.

“We have chosen Tuesdays as the soldiers have their drill night then and the aim is to mingle with them for the purposes of comradeship and to raise awareness of the legion and its functions,” he said.

“The principle message we wish to impart is that we look after the servicemen and woman after their active duty and into old age.

“We especially need younger people to help out before they get too old.

“One does not need to be an ex-services person to join the legion and volunteering to assist in its local work is greatly appreciated.”

For more information about becoming a member of the branch contact Larry Billingsley, branch chairman, on 01562 741532 or email larrybill134@gmail.com, or Peter Dunn on 01562 851164 or email pgdunn@blueyonder.co.uk

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