Legion branch proud to pick up award as best in county

Hadleigh Royal British Legion Branch won the Suffolk County Proficiency Cup awarded to the best large branch in the county for 2016
Hadleigh Royal British Legion Branch won the Suffolk County Proficiency Cup awarded to the best large branch in the county for 2016

Hadleigh’s Royal British Legion branch has won the Suffolk County Proficiency Cup awarded to the best large branch in the county.

The committee was chosen after an action-packed year which included leading the town’s Great War Centenary Project, taking 30 pupils from Hadleigh High School to the Somme in France for two days, giving presentations to local groups and holding a Great War exhibition at the May Show.

Branch chairman Mark Brennan said he was proud that the members had been recognised for the work they had been doing.

“For us this is quite an achievement, we are delighted to be honest,” he said.

The award is particularly impressive as at one point the branch was suffering a downturn in membership and attendance.

“A few years ago the branch wasn’t very active so we’ve had to push on in the last few years,” said Mr Brennan.

“There is always a need for veterans and the service community and we have a large military community here, with a lot of veterans living in the town.”

The Great War Centenary Project was set up in 2014 and sees the branch take the lead with involvement from other groups, individuals and schools.

Work includes researching Hadleigh’s involvement in the war, including monthly reports about the men who died 100 years ago.

The idea is to engage the community, as well as ensure these servicemen’s efforts are recognised and remembered.

It also helps bring people together, military and civilian.

Ensuring the welfare and care principles of the Royal British Legion are retained is another key area for the branch.

Projects that helped secure the award include a new monthly pop-in welfare centre and the offer of welfare support and representation for local veterans.

Anyone wanting to join the branch can email hadleighww1@gmail.com or call 01473 824874.

The Hadleigh Centenary project can be viewed at www.Hadleighww1.com.