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Barking Royal British Legion club at risk of closure appeals for new members

PUBLISHED: 12:31 03 December 2018 | UPDATED: 11:02 04 December 2018

The Royal British Legion club at the Curzon Community Centre and Social Club in Barking are looking for new members. Left to right: Edward and Iris Rawlings, Robert Clarke and Malcolm Barker. Picture: KEN MEARS

The Royal British Legion club at the Curzon Community Centre and Social Club in Barking are looking for new members. Left to right: Edward and Iris Rawlings, Robert Clarke and Malcolm Barker. Picture: KEN MEARS

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Second World War veterans have called for people to join their club to save it from closing.

L-R: John Janes, club secretary, Reg Pinney, from the Greater London district division of the Royal British Legion, Malcolm Barker, chairman, and Edward Rawlings, vice chairman. Picture: TONY BALDWINL-R: John Janes, club secretary, Reg Pinney, from the Greater London district division of the Royal British Legion, Malcolm Barker, chairman, and Edward Rawlings, vice chairman. Picture: TONY BALDWIN

Members at the Barking branch of the Royal British Legion (RBL) based at the Curzon Community Centre, Bastaple Avenue, have dropped to the point where only eight remain.

Treasurer, Tony Baldwin, said: “Numbers have deteriorated. We’ve only got a few members and need to keep it running.”

The branch has already felt the impact with this year’s poppy appeal less successful than in the past because there was no organiser to distribute the commemorative pins.

“It wasn’t as good as we hoped it would be. The old boys couldn’t really do as much as they wanted to. We didn’t get any of the enamel poppies this year and many people were disappointed. They were like gold dust. Next year we hope to run a more effective campaign,” Tony said.

Staff at the Heathway Centre were forced to sell poppies last month because there was no organiser covering Dagenham.

This year Tony, who joined a couple of years ago, was privileged to join fellow members at the Remembrance Day service and parade in Whitehall.

“It was an honour to go to the Cenotaph and take wreaths from marching soldiers as they went past. I would never have had that opportunity had I not been a member,” Tony said.

The Barking RBL branch was founded in 1933. Its veterans fought in the Second World War. They meet the first Monday of every month.

It costs £17 a year to become a member with benefits including access to RBL centres across the country. But military service is not required to join.

“We need as many people to join as possible. The more the merrier,” Tony said. “We’re one of the few charities that deal with world war veterans. With the Legion, whether you’re alive or dead, they are willing to help.”

The RBL recommends branches have at least 15 members seven of whom should form branch committee.

It recently introduced county supported branches requiring two points of contact.

Email the branch at barking.rbl0864@yahoo.com

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