Call to keep north Suffolk Royal British Legion branch independent as membership dwindles

Wenhaston

Wenhaston - Credit: Archant

A Royal British Legion branch with only nine remaining members faces a shared future with nearby clubs in north Suffolk if it cannot recruit new and younger members.

The Wenhaston branch of the Royal British Legion has fallen victim to dwindling member numbers in recent years, owing largely to death and people moving away from the area.

However chairman John Ley has said he and the branch committee - including secretary Sue Doy and treasurer Marjorie Onough - are determined to do what they can to recruit younger members and keep the club alive.

“We’re down to nine members, but we are determined to keep it going,” he said. “Numbers started dwindling around three years ago. We lost members either to moving or departing this earth. We obviously are the older members in the village. Each year we lose one or two members which sadly we haven’t been able to replace. I would love to keep going.

“We were very fortunate this year, although we are small in numbers we raised £800 for the Royal British Legion Poppy Appeal. We are still supported by those in the village but we could do with more members.


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“Some people know about the British Legion, but there’s more education needed.

“The younger we can get them, the better.”

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If the Wenhaston branch cannot recruit enough new members to continue as an individual club, it could be merged with those in Halesworth and Lowestoft.

The branch has been working hard to engage with youths, and for many years has conducted services at the village war memorial on Remembrance Day with pupils at Wenhaston Primary School.

“This year they were very, very good,” said Mr Ley. “They read the names out of the departed and they read a hymn.

“I was very emotional, it was lovely to see that.

“I have been doing it for the last few years, the school have been quite responsive to it.”

Up until this year, Mr Ley had been county standard bearer, but stood down from the role after turning 84. He continues to act as standard bearer for the Wenhaston branch.

It costs £16 a year to become a member, a charge set nationally, and a military background is not required.

To show your interest in becoming a member, or for information on how to support the cause, email Mr Ley on 22198john@gmail.com

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