Concert bids to raise Legion profile

A CONCERT in Aylsham this weekend will mark the start of a series of countywide events aimed at raising the profile of a long-established charity which supports Britain's ex-service community - and troops in Afghanistan.

A CONCERT in Aylsham this weekend will mark the start of a series of countywide events aimed at raising the profile of a long-established charity which supports Britain's ex-service community - and troops in Afghanistan.

Hazel Kingswood respectfully doffs her hat, as chairman of Norfolk Royal British Legion Women's Section, to fellow charity Help For Heroes, but says: 'People don't seem to realise that we've been doing very similar work since 1921.'

Mrs Kingswood, from Marsham, hopes the section's quartet of fun events will also boost membership by encouraging any woman who supports Britain's troops to sign up as a member and help with the charity's fund-raising work.

'It would be lovely to attract the interest that Help for Heroes does at the minute,' she said. 'They do a wonderful job and their publicity is brilliant - everything seems to be focused on them. We are our own best-kept secret. We can't give out the names and details of those we help because of data protection and confidentiality.'


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Mrs Kingswood said that right now the legion's women's section was supporting ex-servicewomen from Afghanistan, widows and children of soldiers killed there, and members were sending boxes of sweets, toiletries and magazines to serving troops.

But many people mistakenly believed that they were only concerned with supporting older veterans, such as those from the second world war.

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Section rules had also changed and any woman over 16 was now eligible to join, whether or not they had any personal or close family military connection.

Mrs Kingswood said that when she joined the section in 1982, the year British troops were fighting in the Falklands War, there had been 66 branches in Norfolk. Today that number had more than halved, to 32.

She feared modern women felt they were too busy to join committees but she hoped the planned events would show that membership involved a lot of fun and friendship, as well as the knowledge that women were supporting such a worthwhile cause.

�For more information contact county secretary Lesley Willcocks 01263 734115.

AYLSHAM Band will launch the women's section events in Aylsham High School, Sir William's Lane, this Sunday at 2pm.

The concert will include afternoon tea and 'a surprise comic act.' Entry is �5 per person.

On Monday May 24 there will be a quiz night at the Royal British Legion Centre, Aylsham Road, Norwich, starting at 7.15pm. Entry is �10 per team of four.

A Songs of Praise event will be held in Downham Market Methodist Church on Sunday, June 13 at 3pm.

And the section's biggest event will be a Family Fun Day at Swanton Morley Village Hall and grounds on Saturday July 24 from noon. Attractions will include craft stalls, camel racing, a hog roast, barbecue and teas, car-boot sale and other activities yet to be confirmed.

For more information ring 01263 734115.

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