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Always there for our war veterans
10:00pm Friday 30th August 2013 in News
WICKFORD Royal British Legion has celebrated 85 years of being there for local veterans.
Since 1928 armed forces members, both past and present, have been meeting in a British Legion hall in Runwell Road.
The branch opened seven years after the first ever British legion, and members say it could be one of the oldest in the area.
It currently has about 400 members, but has attracted more than 600 in the past. Ben Waldron, the legion’s vice chairman, has been a member of the Wickford branch for more than 30 years, having also been with the Rayleigh branch for ten years previously.
He didn’t serve in the army but joined in member of his grandfather who died in the First World War aged 19.
He said: “The highlight of every year is the remembrance service, and meeting former soldiers who served in the army.
“It is really important people still support the British legion, it’s always a struggle to get support.
“The money goes to the welfare for the soldiers who have been maimed and injured during the Afghan and Iraq war.
“The personnel who are suffering after the wars are sometimes forgotten. The Government doesn’t seem to do a lot for them and they shouldn’t really have to rely onacharity but they do.”
The legion celebrated its 85 years ataCockney inspired evening on Saturday.
Jellied eels and a wartime singer entertained the troops in the 1940s themed event, with special guests including the Essex county chairman of the British Legion, Melvin Swann, as well as the chairman of Wickford War Memorial Foundation Steve Newman and the county vice president of the British Legion, David Swann.