Lancing Royal British Legion branch at '˜serious risk' of closure

The Lancing and Sompting branch of the Royal British Legion, which has been running since 1926, is at '˜serious risk' of closure if new branch officers cannot be recruited.

Wednesday, 8th March 2017, 10:10 am
Updated Friday, 24th March 2017, 11:11 am
Members of the Lancing branch of the Royal British Legion

The branch currently has only four permanent officers in key roles and needs a minimum of eight in order to keep running.

Geoff Bowring, who has been chairman of the branch for eight years, said: “We are really, really struggling to get people to volunteer.

“No one is interested.”

He noted the dedication and hard work of the current officers, many of whom have volunteered for years and helped organise events including Remembrance Sunday by delivering and selling poppies.

“We can’t get people who will do that,” he said.

“Young people aren’t interested.”

The branch is also in desperate need of a secretary – which it cannot run without – after Mr Bowring’s daughter stepped down from the role after eight years.

A special general meeting has been called by the county committee for Tuesday, March 14, at the Lancing Royal British Legion Club where the issue will be discussed further.

Only current members can volunteer for the roles, but if none come forward, a vote may be taken to close the branch.

If it is closed, members may either merge with the Shoreham branch or become part of the county branch, which is based in Brighton.

Until this meeting, Mr Bowring said: “Everything is up in the air.

“I have no idea what’s going to happen.”

The potential closure of the branch would not affect Lancing’s British Royal Legion Club on Culver Road, he added.

The club would continue to run as normal, confirmed Joy Slater, vice chairman of the club.

In a letter addressed to branch members, seen by the Herald, county chairman Arthur Merrick, wrote: “Naturally this concerns me deeply, especially when I know the branch has contributed with its volunteers to the charitable objectives of the organisation.”

He urges members to consider volunteering.

“It would be a shame to lose this local presence of the Royal British Legion,” he wrote.

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