Wiltshire Publications

Issue 480 – Westbury Branch of the Royal British Legion ready to celebrate 30 years

THE Westbury Branch of the Royal British Legion is celebrating its 30th anniversary this month.

A special service will be held on Sunday 20th February at 11.30am, at All Saints Church, which will be led by the Rev Jonathan Burke.
Every year, members of the Westbury Branch of the Royal British Legion are seen out in the town tirelessly collecting for the charity’s annual Poppy Appeal, and are also recognised for their work in the Remembrance Sunday parade and service in the town. In last year’s poppy appeal, the branch collected over £6,000 from the people of Westbury. However, the branch also works all year round to raise funds for local people.
The Westbury branch was originally formed in 1921, but disbanded in 1964. In 1981 the branch was reformed by Tom Knowles, who set up the current branch and became its first president.
Eddie Bridges, current president of the Westbury branch, explained why the branch has kept going for 30 years. “We work hard!” he said. “We are a small branch by comparison to others – Warminster has got about 200 and we’ve got 40. We work hard to raise funds for people in the local area who may need help. Any money we raise for the poppy appeal goes to a central branch in London, and goes towards things like respite homes. But we have to raise our own funds to help people locally.”
Ways of raising funds have varied over the years. The branch used to have a very successful stall at the West Wilts Show and took part in carnivals. Last year they were at the town’s popular Street Fayre and attend similar events. But there is the constant challenge to come up with new ideas and methods of raising valuable funds.

Show your support

As the branch marks their anniversary, they are accompanying it with an invite to members of the community to join the branch and help make a valuable contribution to those in need.
Eddie said, “We are now looking at a situation with Afghanistan and Iraq – people and ex-service personnel are always going to need help in some shape or form. With the Legion you can join and meet like-minded people, you don’t have to be ex-service, just feel included to help ex-service people.”
The branch meets on the first Monday of every month, at 7.30pm for 8.00pm, at the Conservative Club. For more information call Eddie on 01373 823 316.

90th anniversary of
the Royal British Legion

Not only is there the 30th anniversary of the Westbury branch, but the national Royal British Legion also celebrates its 90th anniversary this year.
The Royal British Legion provides welfare to the whole Armed Forces family – serving, ex-service, and their dependants. They also campaign on a range of issues affecting service people, are the custodians of Remembrance, and run the annual Poppy Appeal.
The Legion was founded in 1921 as a voice for the ex-service community and is now one of the UK’s largest membership organisations with over 380,000 members.
The first official British Legion Poppy Day was held in Britain on 11th November 1921, inspired by the poem “In Flanders’ Fields” by John McCrae. Since then, the Poppy Appeal has been a key annual event in the nation’s calendar.