Northrepps RBL bucks national trend

The recruiting powers of a small Norfolk branch of the Royal British Legion has won them an accolade after they bucked a national trend and encouraged more members to join.

The recruiting powers of a north Norfolk branch of the Royal British Legion have helped to earned it an accolade after it bucked a national trend and encouraged more members to join.

Northrepps received three prizes at the annual county awards, including the

C W Jex Cup, the reward for the branch with fewer than 100 members that had made the most progress and was run most efficiently over the past year. The cup-winner must prove its credentials in gaining new members, working with the community, running regular meetings and successfully promoting the Poppy appeal.

Gerry Tann, county chairman, said Northrepps managed to increase its membership tally to 37 from 31, while Norfolk's 70 branches had seen an overall drop in membership of around 200. He added: "Only 11 managed to increase their membership. They did exceptionally well. They also increased their Poppy appeal by 68pc.

Branch secretary Lorna Fish, whose father was one of the founder members in 1949, said: "Before the awards, I saw the cup and said: 'Whoever wins that magnificent trophy, it will be like winning the FA Cup.' It was amazing."

Eric Mathieson, 87, from the branch, joined the legion 20 years ago and was an RAF navigator in the second world war. Mr Mathieson, of Cromer, said he hoped the organisation could offer service people in today's conflicts the kind of aid that was missing for second world war veterans.

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