poppy field

Colston Bassett

Registered Charity Number 219279





Chairman: John Ludlam, Trowell Stud, Owthorpe Road, Cotgrave, NG12 3PU.    0115 9899094

Secretary: Peter McLaughlin, 4 Eastwold, Cotgrave, Nottingham. NG12 3NQ.      0115 9894610




Dear Member,

I hope that you all had a good Christmas and New Year and are ready for a full on 2017. This is my Spring Newsletter which I hope will bring you up to date with what is going on in the Branch and what we will do in 2017.

The RBL.

Progress.            The updating of the RBL is now in its 5th year and has reshaped the charity and its services to support to the Armed Forces community. However, the context in which the RBL serves is changing. The size of the Armed Forces is decreasing but the age of the people receiving support is increasing. The needs of many of these are more complex. In addition there is pressure on central and local government spending. The RBL aims to respond to these changes and to extend its services further.

Veterans Gateway.     The RBL with its partners has been selected to deliver the new Veterans’ Gateway. The Gateway is a one-stop service to better support to the UK’s Armed Forces veterans’ community. It will help veterans find and access advice and support on a broad range of issues, including healthcare and housing, from whichever organisation is best placed to deliver it. The £2M program is funded by the Government and will be launched in early 2017. www.britishlegion.org.uk/counties/cumbria/news/mod-veterans-gateway-great-news

National Memorial Arboretum.          The RBL has completed a major project at the NMA at a cost of almost £16 M. There is now a world class visitor experience in a relevant setting, supported by excellent catering facilities and a shop for visitors. www.thenma.org.uk . Maybe we should visit again next year.

Welfare.            The Regional (East Midlands) Welfare team has gained another year’s experience and is providing a reasonable service. They distributed £138 K in grants to individuals in need in Nottinghamshire last year. The Branch has now signed up to the latest RBL ‘Branch Support Project’. www.britishlegion.org.uk/media/2347/rbl-branch-welfare-project-faqs.pdf . This Project will help us get some of the autonomy back for the Branch while delivering activities that are identifiable and recordable, which will allow the RBL to make representation at the highest level.


 Membership.    In the last calendar year we have welcomed 8 new members against our target of 5! Those joining us are: Diane Bedford, Stan Boden, Chris Gill, Kathy Hampson, Anne Hicks, Dave Walker, Peter Woolley and Dorothy Woolley. Unfortunately and very sadly 4 prominent members died. They were: Jean Barratt, Geoff Hannibal, Gordon Gray (our President) and Avril Rust. We now have 125 members although 11 are shown on the RBL database as yet to pay the membership fee. These members have been informed.

Fundraising.      2016 was our best fundraising year yet. The Poppy Appeal having broken all records by collecting over £8 K in 2015, this year collected an incredible £17,757. Over 40 members were involved and everyone is to be congratulated. Our non-poppy appeal events also did well collecting £1945 thus making an overall total of £19,700 raised. It may be worth reminding ourselves that 6 years ago we had 53 members and raised £3972! Congratulations.

Remembrance.    On Remembrance Sunday we supported services at all 3 churches and paraded with the other uniformed organisations in Cotgrave. This year we had to take on the traffic control in liaison with the Cotgrave Town Council. At pretty short notice our members with additional support ensured the safety of the 100 marches. Once again the Band of the Robin Hood Rifles played magnificently. 70 members and friends sat down to eat a very good lunch at Blotts Country Club. This was the first time we had visited Blotts and we were all impressed with the food and service. We will return to Blotts on 18 February this year.

AGM.    In October we held our AGM once again at The Lime Kiln; 48 members and 7 guests attended. We decided that our 2016 donations should go to: The Poppy Appeal £1000, Nottinghamshire RBL Welfare Fund £1000 (delivered by JL on 14 Jan), Alderson House £500 (to be delivered by Chris and Maureen Cockayne) and Galanos House £500 (to be delivered by Bert Wragg and Gilly Cross.

Why do we donate to Galanos House and Alderson House and the Nottinghamshire Welfare Fund? For at least 10 years we have supported Galanos House with a donation of £500. Galanos House is an RBL Care Home in Warwickshire which specialises in Dementia. In 2015 it was given the award for being the best Care Home in the country. Alderson House in Bridlington is a holiday home for those in need of rest and recuperation. There are 5 such homes in the UK and Alderson is the one we would apply to should one of our members require such a service. We donate £500 each year. The Nottinghamshire County Welfare fund is important for those in our geographical area who need support. While the request for support and provision are dealt with by the Regional Welfare office the majority of the money will come from the County Welfare Fund. We donate so that we will not be asked to contribute on a case by case basis.

Granby, Barnstone and District (GBD).         The great news of 2016 was that the recruiting drive carried out by GBD had been successful and they now have 19 members. Greater news still is that they have volunteers for the 4 officer posts and a President. They are now taking action to return to full branch status as soon as possible. Well done and good luck.


At the Committee meeting on 9 January we confirmed our target to raise £2000 from non-Poppy Appeal sources. For the Poppy Appeal we decided that this year we would not set the target not in monetary terms but in ‘Individual Collecting Hours’. This way all members can help achieve the 450 hours we set. Please be ready to answer the call later this year. Our main fundraising event will be on Saturday 15 July when we have supper after listening to a talk with a military flavour. We start our events with the Spring Supper at Blotts on the evening of 18 February when we will have a short talk by the outgoing Chairman of the RBL Nottinghamshire County Committee. The call in notice has gone out but if you have missed it please get in touch as I need your menu choices. Our events 2017 program is shown on the next page so you can hang it up.

Laurence of Arabia Exhibition.          One additional event this year is our trip on 16 March to the National Civil War Centre in Newark to see the Laurence of Arabia exhibition. The NCWC opened relatively recently and is building a good reputation for interesting displays and exhibitions.  Laurence of Arabia needs no introduction and his successes in the desert during WW1 are a timely reminder of where we are 100 years later.

As with other spring visits we will travel by car and share the cost of petrol. If we can take 10 members entry will cost £8 for those under 65 and £7 for those over 65. There are further reductions for English heritage members. We would leave Cotgrave and Colston Bassett at 09.30 am to enter the Centre at 10 am. Coffee and Lunch would be taken in the Centre café. We will think of departing at 3 pm. You can see more about the Centre at its web site www.nationalcivilwarcentre.com .

To book please contact Peter McLaughlin on 0115 9894610 orpeter.mclaughlin@live.co.uk  


Yours Sincerely


John Ludlam



Time (tbc)


Cost (tbc)

18 Feb Sat

6.30 for 7.15

Branch Spring Meeting at Blotts


16 Mar Thur

0930 to 3 pm

National Civil War centre - Laurence of Arabia Exhibition

£8   < 65

£7   65 +



6 Apr Thur

7 pm

Quiz and Supper at Lime Kiln


16 Apr Easter Sun

12 pm

Support Martins Arms Easter Egg Rolling


6 May Sat 

7 pm

Belvoir Vale Wassailors Concert.



tbd Sat May/Jun


Poppy Ball.


7 or 8 Jun tbc

6.30 to 10 pm

Supper on the Trent


17 Jun Sat

11 am – 4 pm

Tombola Stand at the Cotgrave Festival.



15 Jul Sat


Talk and Supper. Colston Bassett Village Hall.



tbd Sep Sat

7 pm

RAF Band Concert, Langar church. (Joint with GBD)



12 Oct Thur

6.30 pm

AGM and supper at the Lime Kiln.



21 Oct Sat


Poppy Launch.



21 Oct to 11 Nov


Poppy Collection


12 Nov Sun

12 pm for 12.45

Remembrance Sunday and Lunch.



13 Dec Wed


Christmas Gathering and supper.


£15  2 Cse

£18  3 Cse