Royal British Legion marks 50th anniversary

For five decades they have supported the families of soldiers, airmen and sailors who have risked or lost their lives for their country.On a cold clear crisp day the former and present members of the Aylsham and District Royal British Legion women's section gathered to celebrate the group's 50th birthday.

For five decades they have supported the families of soldiers, airmen and sailors who have risked or lost their lives for their country.

On a cold clear crisp day the former and present members of the Aylsham and District Royal British Legion women's section gathered to celebrate the group's 50th birthday.

Dozens of women met at St Michaels and All Angels Church on Sunday afternoonto commemorate the formation of the female branch in 1959.

Since then the section has organised countless fund-raising events to help the families of servicemen who have lost loved ones in war zones or need support while they are deployed overseas.


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As well thanking past and current members for all their efforts over the years, it is hoped that the church service will drum up more support for the women's section.

The section has launched a campaign to attract younger women as some members are increasingly finding it hard to attend meetings because of their age or lack of transport.

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Hazel Kingswood, chairman of the Aylsham women's section, said that there is a misperception among people that you have to have a link with the armed to sign up as a RBL member.

Mrs Kingswood, who joined the branch after the Falklands War, said: 'People are more aware today of what our troops are going through overseas in Iraq and Afghanistan and how it affects their families.

'If you are keen to support those families then feel free to contact the RBL. It is also a good way to make new friends.'

The church service was lead by former RBL padre canon Michael Woods and Pauline Laxen was persuaded to come of 'retirement' as the section's standard bearer to welcome visitors and standard bearers from other Norfolk branches.

Lesley Willcocks, RBL women's section county treasurer, said that even though two sections had closed in Norfolk in the last few years there was 'no serious decline' in numbers at present with 36 branches boasting 1,340 members.

Any women interested in joining any of the RBL's women's sections can call Mrs Willcocks on 01263 734115.

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