poppy field






Membership News.

Since the turn of the year for various reasons we have sadly "lost" 9 of our members: One moved to France and transferred his membership there, two moved into care homes, five failed to renew their memberships after three reminders, and the Last Post was sounded for Syd Wilkins. New members who have joined since our last newsletter was published are Miss C Pearson,  James McConville, and  Mike and  Penny Boas. A warm welcome is extended to them all, and our membership now stands at 225. 

Branch Matters.

Meetings: The move to the second Monday for our monthly meetings in the Memorial club has been well received by most members although inevitably a few of our regulars are unable to attend due to other commitments. The January meeting was cancelled because of the severe weather, and Wing Commander Steve Molsom, RAF Benson,         who should have been our guest speaker then will now be visiting us on 10th May. Future speakers already booked areMalcolm Wills, from Thames Valley Police Crime Prevention Squad on 12th April;  Tony Hobbs, retired Queen's Waterman on 14th June; in July a serving TA Officer/Pharmacist recently returned from a tour of duty in Afghanistan will be visiting us; and in September ex Royal Marine Gavin Stewart who trekked up Mt Kilimanjaro in December will be talking about his trip.

Welfare: Happily we can report that all requests for surgery/hospital transport have been met as were all other requests for help. However we do rely on you to provide information to us and if you know of any ex Service person who needs the sort of assistance we can give please do let us know.

Events: In March a small group enjoyed a very pleasant visit to the REME Museum, Arborfield which was organised by Alec Powell, and the success of this trip has encouraged us to consider more such visits to places within easy car driving distance. (Details will be given out at meetings, if you are interested but can't get to meetings send the secretary a note).  It's early days yet but we are already thinking about the Garden Fete which is normally held on August Bank Holiday Monday; and looking further ahead we are seeking ideas for a suitable way to mark the 90th Anniversary of the Legion next year. Any suggestions would be welcome.  Meanwhile, in July, our member John Green will be trekking the Freedom Trail across the Pyrenees with the Legion team to raise money for the Poppy Appeal. This is a 4-day trek which covers 50 miles and reaches a height of 2,600 metres testing the participant's strength and resilience in every shape and form, crossing snowfields, negotiating gigantic granite boulders, in varying climates and carrying equipment. If anybody would like to sponsor John in this adventure (and many of you already have) your donations can be sent to the secretary at the address below, and it will all go to the Poppy Appeal.

At the County Conference in January, Branch Chairman  Dick Stillwell, collected a certificate awarded for second place in the Norris Trophy competition for Branch efficiency. First place went to Woodstock Branch.

Other Matters.

The Legion's Return to Rationing campaign scored an important victory last November with the passing of the Welfare Reform Act 2009 enabling the change of name of Council Tax Benefit to Council Tax Rebate. The Legion lobbied hard for this change and envisages that many more older members of the ex-Service community will be encouraged to claim the rebate to which they are entitled.

The Legion worked successfully with Help for Heroes last year on three national fund raising projects: Both charities benefited  from the additional income generated and the Legion took every opportunity to raise public awareness of the extent of our welfare work. Last year we spent more than £I million a week helping over 130,000 members of the Armed Forces Family, including providing financial assistance to 10,000 Service personnel recently returned from Iraq and Afghanistan. The Legion also represented a third of all the appeals for higher compensation payments for injuries suffered in Afghanistan.


And Finally.

Some thoughts on Old Age:

An elderly man had serious hearing problems for a number of years and finally went to the doctor who fitted him up with a set of hearing aids allowing him to hear 100%. A month later he returned to the doctor who told him "your hearing is perfect; your family must be really pleased". The man replies "oh, I haven't told my family yet. I just sit around and listen to their conversations; I've changed my will 3 times already!"