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New faces called for to save RBL branch's future

By North Devon Journal  |  Posted: December 27, 2012

By Philippa Jenkins

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A LACK of committee members may mean a North Devon Royal British Legion branch will have to close after helping ex-servicemen and women for over 80 years.

Hartland Royal British Legion Branch opened in 1924 and now has more than 200 members but the committee is struggling to recruit members, meaning its future has been left in jeopardy.

Branch chairman Barrie Whitehead said the branch was the hub of the community with events going on at its club most evenings.

The retired RAF radar technician, 66, said: "We try to renew the committee members each year to keep the club fresh but at the last annual meeting only four people came forward and ideally we need 25 to 30.

"It is a very active club, our Poppy Appeal effort raises up to £4,000 alone.

"I think there is often a misconception that you have to be ex-military to join but you don't. You get all the training when you become a member.

"We know the money we raise helps people in the area as well, as the legion has case workers tracking people in the area.

"If the club folds then the social aspect will disappear and the evening activities will stop as well as our renowned Remembrance Sunday events."

If the club ceases to exist as an independent branch then it could be amalgamated into another branch meaning it will lose its identity. A special meeting is due to be held on January 15 in the village to try and save the club.

Everyone is welcome to attend the meeting which will take place at the Hartland Royal British Legion Club in West Street at 7.30pm.

For more information contact Barrie on 01237 441201.

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