British legion branch set to close
FRAMLINGHAM Royal British Legion is on the verge of collapse with the branch facing almost certain closure if no-one comes forward to run it.Branch chairman Roger Montague - who argues there is now a “stigma” being a member of a RBL club - is having to stand down through ill health and called a meeting to discuss the club's future and that of its building on Albert Road in the town.
FRAMLINGHAM Royal British Legion is on the verge of collapse with the branch facing almost certain closure if no-one comes forward to run it.
Branch chairman Roger Montague - who argues there is now a “stigma” being a member of a RBL club - is having to stand down through ill health and called a meeting to discuss the club's future and that of its building on Albert Road in the town.
He revealed at that meeting, which was attended by around 100 members, that the branch would have to shut and was prepared to close it down there and then, but after a “heated debate” it was given a stay of execution for one month.
In that time it is hoped volunteers can be found to take on the roles of chairman and treasurer.
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Mr Montague said: “It's a stigma now being a member of the Royal British Legion. We're all old people with sticks and who wants to join that?
“There are no young people coming in and we need them to survive. In my day you had National Service and you had to join the Royal British Legion. Nowadays there's no-one.
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“We are closely linked to Remembrance Sunday. We are Remembrance Sunday, but you can't survive on one event a year.”
He added the club was healthy as far as numbers were concerned but was disappointed that no-one would take over from him.
“There are 100 people at that meeting the other night and not one of them stood up and said they would take over. I think it's sad.
“I can't keep banging my head against a brick wall.”
Mr Montague said he had had no intention of standing down as chairman but ill health and a second knee operation had forced his hand.
During the extraordinary meeting it was agreed to allow the club to carry on for one more month, but Mr Montague had little hope for the club's future.
“You have to be ruthless. At the moment there is enough money for it to run for 12 months, but after that you will get into difficulties and that would be a whole different kettle of fish. We would end with a very bad reputation. If we go now then we will not owe anyone any money and can bow out gracefully.
“You can't allow someone to have a go and then it fails to get off the ground again. We know we have to be ruthless about this. I think we have to cut it dead now.
“It's is a great shame, but what can you do.
Member Gordon Bullingham said: “It's a real tragedy. I can't believe it is going to close. It really looks like it is the end. We have carpet bowls there, a darts team and bingo, but we just can't seem to survive.
“I don't know how many other Royal British Legion branches have closed around the country but I bet we're not the first and we won't be the last.”