Welcome to the Stamford Branch of The Royal British Legion
The Royal Artillery again did us proud when they hosted us for our second Branch Christmas Dinner in the WOs' and Sergeants' Mess on 7 January. We were a bit late this year as all the cooks and 'volunteer' serving staff disappeared on leave quite early before Christmas - all part of their deployment preparations.
If anything, this Dinner was even better than last year. We still enjoyed all the glitter of the silver, the candlelight, the grand, imposing setting, and the immaculate catering and waiter service of the young servicemen, but the event itself was more relaxed this year. We were seated ten to a round table which enabled us to talk to more of our neighbours rather than just with whoever was sat next to or immediately opposite you. And the buffet service certainly speeded the proceedings up.
The dinner itself was excellent - a really good choice both of meats and vegetables, lashings of gravy, and of desserts - and all beautifully cooked and presented. A very special thank you also goes to the chef who prepared a whole meal especially for one person who is both a coeliac and a vegetarian - she was very impressed and well-satisfied.
A good feature of the dinner was the spread of generations among us, including many in their 20s, their 30s and 40s. And also the large number of people who were not Branch members, or even Legion members! We hope that we gave a good account of ourselves and that some of them will be persuaded to join the Legion, preferably Stamford Branch.
After the meal, the Loyal Toast, and a toast to 'The Regiment', our Chairman John Copeland reviewed the wide range of activities which we are considering to celebrate our Branch 90th Anniversary and Her Majesty's Diamond Jubilee in 2012; He also called upon all members to help and to take part. Then our co-Guest of Honour, Lt Col James Phillips, CO of 16 Regiment RA, welcomed us all and spoke of how good it was that his Service personnel and their families were able to meet the wider community through their growing links with the Branch. He expressed his thanks on behalf of the entire British Army for all the support which they receive from the Legion. That message of the Legion's work needed to be spread more among the wider community.
Grp Capt Richard Hill, our other Co-Guest of Honour and Station Commander of RAF Wittering, also stressed how the links between the RAF - and all the Armed Forces - between the ex-Services community were very close and getting even closer. He thanked us for the Legion's support during the current period of Service redundancies; the old days of us and them were firmly gone. He was especially impressed by the Legion's support for Service families, quoting one particular case. The Legion was more relevant today than ever. He concluded by saying that he was so impressed by the Legion that he was personally going to join Stamford Branch. He then asked all non-Legion members present to join him in a toast the The Royal British Legion.
A really good evening then concluded with the usual raffle which, with the help of a beautiful cake baked by Doris Jibb, raised £168, and the clearing of the floor for a disco. We thank everyone who contributed to the success of this evening - to Bill Turner, John Copeland and WOII Lee Williams who did all the donkey work in its organisation, the catering and serving staff, the Royal Artillery for their hospitality (and bar prices!) and for providing transport to and from Stamford, as always everyone who contributed to the raffle and to Roy and Marian for running it, and to all those members and non-members who took part.