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Legion branch battles to survive beyond annual meeting
THERE are fears that this year’s Remembrance Day commemorations could signal the last post for a Royal British Legion branch.
Membership at the Powick and Callow End branch, near Wocester, has fallen by more than half in the last decade and the branch is now facing a battle just to survive beyond its annual meeting in November.
Spokesman John Mason said: “Ten years ago we had more than 120 members but now, on paper at least, it is about 50.
“However, out of that 50 we get about 10 at a meeting if we are lucky. There are five principal officer roles that must be appointed every year and if they are not filled the branch simply cannot exist.”
Mr Mason said members were already having to double up on roles but, with most of advancing years, that was simply not sustainable.
“We desperately need some new and younger blood. I have been saying it for years but my pleas have fallen on deaf ears. Now people need to realise that if something does not change the legion will simply no longer be there.”
The Royal British Legion presence in Powick and Callow End dates back to the establishment of the movement in 1921, when two separate branches were formed.
They merged after the Second World War, with a separate women’s branch continuing until 12 years ago.
Mr Mason believes some of the problems stem from a “common misconception” that only those who have served in the forces can join.
“This is simply not true. Anyone can be a member, male or female, and we welcome junior members as well,” he said.
“It is not just us. There are other branches across the country facing problems.
“If we go then whole areas of the country will have no-one there to keep an eye on the welfare on those people, or their families, who have served in the forces and have fallen on hard times.”
Anyone who would like to join can call Mr Mason on 01905 830805.