Topsham’s Royal British Legion branch set to close

PUBLISHED: 06:30 31 January 2016


The Royal British Legion (RBL) branch in Topsham will close subject to approval from the Devon county chairman, its secretary Vanessa Ascough has revealed.

The decision was taken by RBL committee members at their recent annual general meeting.

An ageing membership and a lack of young volunteers to replace them in Topsham is why the branch will be closing, said Vanessa.

She added that members in Topsham would still continue to contribute and support the RBL.

“We couldn’t go on forever. Our members just couldn’t do it anymore after occupying multiple roles,” said Vanessa. “They’re all getting on and aren’t able to get out as much. We weren’t recruiting any new young members, so following our meeting on Thursday, January 21, we decided to close the branch. A resignation letter will be sent to our county chairman, who will asses the situation. Once we’ve his approval we can officially say the branch has closed.

“We’ll continue to maintain Remembrance commemorations in Topsham as that is important to our tight-knit community.

“It’s a sad announcement, but we’ll still be members of the RBL and our money will go to our service men and women who need it in today’s world. I would encourage people in Topsham who wish to be RBL members to join our Exmouth or Exeter branches.”

The secretary praised Topsham’s ‘community spirit’ for inspiring members to keep the RBL branch running for as long as they could.

Vanessa said: “I’ve been a member of the Topsham branch for around three years and been secretary since the beginning of 2014.

“I’ll always be an RBL member because of my father and grandfather, who both served in the British army.

“We had some fantastic speakers attend the branch, and we were one of the few RBL branch’s left, who could still go door-to-door to collect money. We understand that people don’t appreciate cold calling, but because Topsham is such a tight knit community – we were still able to do that.”

Four national organisations came together on May 15, 1921, to create the RBL.

The organisation helps British military personnel, veterans and their families all-year-round.

The chairman of the Exmouth branch of the RBL, Dave Turner, said: “It’s sad that the Topsham branch will be closing, but its members will be made very welcome at our branch.”

Exmouth RBL meets on the fourth Wednesday of every month at the RAFA Club in Imperial Road at 7.30pm. The next Exmouth meeting is on Wednesday, February 24, at 7.30pm.

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