Fears over future of RBL branch

Poppy sellersin Eastbourne were visited by the towns mayor and MP. November 10th 2012 E45035N'54 Eastbourne Air Training Corps with, at rear, Stephen Lloyd MP, Poppy seller organiser Dave Smedley and the mayor of Eastbourne Cllr Mike Thompson. (Arndale Centre).
Poppy sellersin Eastbourne were visited by the towns mayor and MP. November 10th 2012 E45035N'54 Eastbourne Air Training Corps with, at rear, Stephen Lloyd MP, Poppy seller organiser Dave Smedley and the mayor of Eastbourne Cllr Mike Thompson. (Arndale Centre).
0
Have your say

The future of Eastbourne’s Royal British Legion (RBL) branch is being discussed tomorrow (Saturday) following a drop in members.

An urgent meeting has been called to talk about the next move for the group, which has around 50 people on its list.

The branch, which is understood to be one of the first of its kind to be established in the country, is desperately hoping to boost figures. If it does not and numbers continue to dip then the branch will continue but would go into administration and go on to be run by the county headquarters.

Its chairman, Dave Smedley, said, “We have got a good branch but the membership is dwindling.

“People in Eastbourne support the Poppy Appeal wonderfully and we probably get the highest amount of funds in Sussex but they are not always RBL members. It’s getting these people to join up.”

The branch used to have a club in Pevensey Road but it closed in October 2005 because not enough members were using the facilities. It now has a base at Courtlands Road where it has an office and Poppy Appeal Centre and where the branch holds its quarterly meetings.

Mr Smedley, 74, who is also dealing with the branch’s finances as well as having the role of chairman, added, “We could do with getting more members because it would help spread the load a bit more.

“Numbers have been dropping for a few years. All the old staunch World War Two supporters are in their 80s and 90s and some have sadly died.”

He added that a dip in numbers also meant that the money received less in membership fees and that the branch had costs such as business rates to pay. Tomorrow’s urgent meeting will take place at its base in Courtlands Road for all its members to attend. Anyone who would like to join the Eastbourne Royal British Legion or find out more should call 833083.