Sadness as women’s Royal British Legion branch closes

(Left to right) Christine Taylor, vice chairman of the East Preston Royal British Legion Women's Section; Janet Pidgeon, chairman; Father David Farrant; Ann James, secretary; Pam Twine, committee member; Carol Oxley, county secretary and standard bearer. Pictured at St Mary's Church, East Preston.

(Left to right) Christine Taylor, vice chairman of the East Preston Royal British Legion Women's Section; Janet Pidgeon, chairman; Father David Farrant; Ann James, secretary; Pam Twine, committee member; Carol Oxley, county secretary and standard bearer. Pictured at St Mary's Church, East Preston.

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The women’s section of a local branch of the Royal British Legion has expressed its sadness that it is being merged with its male equivalent.

The East Preston & Kingston Royal British Legion Women’s Section held its final committee meeting on Monday, October 31.

This followed the decision by the national body to amalgamate the women’s section with the men’s section.

The women’s section provides care and support for the ex-service community and, by means of fund-raising, offers financial help to ex-service women, wives, widows and widowers of service personnel and their children.

They also ran the poppy appeal collections until now.

Previously, the funds of the women’s section have been administered separately from other Royal British Legion funds.

The amalgamation means the Women’s Section will no longer have national recognition, an annual conference or representation on the board of trustees, losing their autonomy.

The closing ceremony, known as the laying up of the standard, took place on Saturday, October 22 at St Mary’s Church, East Preston.

It was attended by supporters, representatives from East Preston Parish Council and officials from East Preston organisations.

In a statement from the women’s section, it said: “The East Preston and Kingston Royal British Legion Women’s Section has a proud reputation for fundraising in aid of service personnel and running the annual poppy appeal and are deeply saddened at the decision by the national board of trustees which has led to the disbanding of the women’s sections.

“The committee would like thank everyone who attended the official closing ceremony, the laying up of the standard.

“In spite of the sad occasion, the get-together in the Spire Room following the ceremony proved to be an uplifting event and the committee are very grateful for the comments and good wishes they received from all quarters.”

Father David Farrant gave the address at the memorial ceremony, Christine Taylor, branch vice-chairman, recited The Exhortation and Joy Jackson, county president, read the lesson.

Also in attendance were county secretary Carol Oxley and standard bearer Betty Underhill.

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