Legion’s on the hunt for new members in Falkirk area to add to its ranks

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Former members of Britain’s armed forces are being urged to sign up for a reinforcement mission.

Grangemouth Royal British Legion is offering to help veterans in surrounding towns and villages form sub-branches to strengthen the organisation’s activities.

Councillor Robert Spears, who recently became chairman of the Grangemouth branch, came up with the idea.

He said: “Grangemouth British Legion is the only local Legion branch – the nearest branches are in Cumbernauld and Dunfermline.

“The Legion does a lot of good work for veterans and this programme will help it do even more. We would like to establish branches throughout the district as a way of helping local veterans and the community as a whole.”

The Grangemouth branch has been present in the town for well over half-a-century, moving to its present location in Dundas Street in the 1960s.

Boasting around 250 full members, this swells to 450 when you include associate and family members.

During its long history the Royal British Legion has helped ex-service personnel who have served in World War Two, Korea, Aden, Cyprus, Northern Ireland, Iraq and Afghanistan.

Now Councillor Spears, Falkirk Council’s former veterans champion, wants to swell the ranks even further, believing in the old adage of strength in numbers.

He said: “In days gone by every town had a Legion and we would like to get back to the kind of membership we enjoyed in the past. It will greatly help with veterans issues – the number of cases coming forward continues to grow – and it will also allow us to do a lot more for the poppy appeal, giving a greater range for collections.”

Councillor Spears, a former serviceman himself, says he is relishing his role as chairman of the branch and hopes to carry on the good work of his predecessors.

“I look forward to working with everyone and getting more support for the things the Legion does year in year out. The big events are always supported, Remembrance Day, Armed Forces Day and the poppy appeal, but I would also like to progress year-round activities like our welfare programme for veterans.”

More members coming on board from different areas would make this happen and Councillor Spears is willing to help fledgling Legion branches get off to a good start.

“We already have Larbert British Legion as a sub-branch of Grangemouth able to access the facilities of the club, so it would be a similar situation with any other sub-branches.

“Grangemouth Legion would be happy to host their initial meetings and then they could become a sub-branch and, at a later date, if they want to become a branch on their own they can go through the procedures to do that.”

Interested parties can contact Councillor Spears on (01324) 506275 for information.