I was interested to read your 75 years ago report about the Sudbury Branch of the Royal British Legion and the concerns of the secretary who was quoted as saying he had a feeling that the time might have come for the Remembrance Day service to be dropped.
The Remembrance parades in Great Cornard and Sudbury on Sunday certainly outlined the fact that the Sudbury and District Branch is still very much alive.
Since 1991, my husband Stuart and I have been associated with the branch and I have minute books back to 1937. The Remembrance Day arrangements from the minutes of the committee meeting October in 1938 read: “Meet for 2.30pm at the war memorial for the service with both the mayor, chaplain and the Rev Michael Stacey, with the Rev Hughes saying the prayer.” The Service of Remembrance was arranged to be held at St Gregory’s Church on Sunday evening. It seems that they always held a service around the war memorial as well as in church.
Of course, at that time the memorial was situated at the top of North Street before being moved to near the church. In the December committee meeting minutes, the collection for the Poppy Appeal totalled £156.13.2d, which was described as “a splendid sum”.
The Sudbury branch was formed in July 1921 and, in those earlier years, the legion was run mostly by local businessmen, like Mr P Alston, Mr C Darking, Mr H Ladbrooke (bank manager at Barclays), Dr R V Powell, Col R J Armes and Mr Grimwood.
A lot of financial help was given to local ex-service men. Today, our welfare work is still as much needed as ever.
Stuart took over the organisation of the Poppy Appeal from the Rev Hugh Wake in 1991 and the collection totalled £4,000 here in Sudbury that year.
That sum has increased steadily over the years, with the 2012/13 appeal totalling £31,683.
A lot of hard work, both before and after the appeal, is put in by members who give their time to collect, organise fundraising events and help with supplies.
New members are always welcome and membership is open to all, not just ex-service. If you would like to know more, please call me on 01787 374277.
Royal British Legion