Broad Street Wrington Web Archive
Royal British Legion -Wrington Branch 
80th Anniversary Concert Programme
Saturday, 15th March, 2003
We would like to welcome you to our musical evening, organised by the Wrington Branch to celebrate our 80th Anniversary.

For your entertainment we are fortunate to have HMS Heron Volunteer Band from RNAS Yeovilton, and the Glastonbury Male Voice Choir.

We would like to welcome the Somerset County President, Mrs Doreen Smith and her party, the former County Chairman, Mr Peter Gladstone-Smith and his wife Marion, and also the County Treasurer, Mr Bert Dun and his wife Pat.
The Branch is most grateful to them all, and especially to the County President, who is also the North Mendip Group Chairman, for supporting us on numerous occasions in the past.

From funds raised at Annual Dances organised by the Branch, donations have been made to "Somerset Legion House" at Weston-Super-Mare, one of the Royal British Legion's Convalescent Homes.

Several members of the Wrington Branch have stayed there with their partners for two weeks, and thoroughly enjoyed it. Plans have now been approved for a new all-purpose home, and work will commence in the Spring. Completion is expected by the end of 2004. It will be located near the Clarence Park end of the sea front.

The Royal British Legion remains as the leading charity safeguarding the welfare, interests and memory of those who served in the Armed Forces, and continues to offer assistance to a quarter of the population of the United Kingdom.

Your presence here this evening, plus the support of sponsors and advertisers will enable us to maintain those levels of support. Finally, I would like to thank my colleagues on the Committee and members of the Branch for all their hard work and organisation in making this evening possible.

Albert Owers

           I. Yeoman                   J. Gallop   M.M. Collins       P. Hutchings
G. Wood               A. Owers                                               M. Wool
A Brief History 1923 -2003 By Mr MM Collins BEM

The Branch was formed on the 21 st February 1923, but no further information is available either in local or County records. Presumably a petition of some sort must have been submitted to County Headquarters for a British Legion branch at Wrington to be officially recognised.

The first minute book we hold is from 1945 to ]951 and membership records and account book from 1933 to 1934. During the period between the wars, the Branch was very strong in numbers, growing from 96 members in 1933-34 to 102 in 1937-38. Remembrance Day parades were led by a band, who marched up and down Broad Street for over half-an-hour before forming up to lead the parade to Church for the service. Afterward, the parade reformed in Station Road and marched back to the east end of Broad Street.

The account books show that through the 1930's, regular weekly grants of cash were made to the sick and infirm. The money for this to be done was raised from Whist Drives, Concert etc. There was, of course, no National Health Service in those days, and no sickness benefits, so that the grants must have been very gratefully received.

It would appear that Mr Dubric Wood was the Hon Secretary and Treasurer from the formation of the Branch until he resigned for health reasons in 1945. Mr Wood was replaced by Mr Harold Lane but he resigned in 1948. At the 1948 Annual General Meeting a Secretary and a Treasurer were proposed, but as neither nominees was present and subsequently declined to act, the vacancies remained. In June 1949, the County Secretary attended a meeting to try to assist, as the Branch was at the non-affiliated stage.

Miraculously, on 30th September, 1949, a regular monthly Committee meeting commenced with Lt. Colonel L M Lee, DSO as the new Secretary and MM Collins as Treasurer. The latter has recently retired as Secretary. As a result of the war, many new members joined the Branch on returning from the armed forces, and membership rose from 110 in 1950 to 148 in 1957. Inevitably, numbers have fallen over the years and there are now 68 members.

Lt. Colonel Lee remained as Secretary until his sudden death on the 17th December 1968. Various members have acted as Secretary since then, and the Branch has been able to function. In latter years this post has been covered by MM Collins along with his Treasurer's job.

When Somerset House was bought at the end of World War II, the sum of £2,000 was raised by public subscription for a "Wrington Lounge". A plaque naming the five men in the village who died during the conflict was placed therein. Recently, the Branch has paid for the refurbishment of one of the bedrooms, and the plaque has been placed outside the door of that room.

Now that benefits are available through Social Services, the Branch Benevolent Fund has not been called upon to make regular weekly grants to the sick and disabled. At Christmas time however, vouchers to the value of £10.00 (at present) are given to pensionable and/or sick members, so that they may purchase something extra from the local shops for the festive season. The Committee also keep in mind, members who have to make regular and prolonged visits to hospital for treatment, and assist with travelling costs.

As the years go by, members become more frail and any personal savings become less. A case of a widow was referred to the Social Services Department who took her in hand. The Branch also helped another war widow obtain a substantial War Widow's pension following the recent death of a second husband. Despite the various Government departments, there is still work to be done by the local Legion Branch which operates at the grass roots level with appropriate discretion.

New Members are always welcome, ex-service personnel join as Ordinary members. What is probably not appreciated by many, is that anyone who has not served in the forces can still become a member of "The Royal British Legion". They will join as an Associate Member; our Branch Treasurer is an Associate Member. If you are interested in becoming a member, contact any member of the Branch Committee listed below.

Elected Branch Officers and Committee Members :-

Mr J A Vaughan

Mr A Owers
Tel: 01934862925

Mr M J Wool
Tel: 01934862724

Grp. Capt. P J Hutchings
Tel: 01934863410

Mr J Gallop
Tel: 0193486262

Mr MM Collins
Tel: 01934862192
Mr G Wood
Tel: 01934862130
Mr I Yeoman
Tel: 01934862654

                                                                A Tribute to Ken
"Wrington's Mr Royal British Legion "
Mr Mackenzie Morgan Collins BEM

Without this man's enthusiasm and dedication, I am sure the Wrington Branch would have ceased to exist many years ago. He served his country in the RASC during World War II from October 1939 to February 1946, becoming a Sergeant. He took part in the Normandy D-Day Campaign.

Together with the late Col. J.M. Lee he was responsible for re-establishing the Branch after a short lapse. This was in 1949, when he became Treasurer, with Col. Lee as Secretary. He served in this post from 1949 to 1999, and was Branch and Service Secretary from 1994 until 2002.

Ken was one of the founder members of the Wrington Flower Show, of which he was Treasurer from 1950 until 1999. This was run by the Branch, and involved many ex-servicemen, and was a great success highlighting the work of "The Royal British Legion".

Branch members always knew that their funds were in safe hands with a trustworthy person like Ken as treasurer. During his term as Secretary no decision would be taken without him thoroughly checking the the rule book to ensure the Branch was not stepping out of line.

His knowledge of the Legion was indisputable, which earned him the greatest respect from the Committee and Branch members. Ken also served as Chairman of the Parish Council from 1967 until 1991, and as Church Warden at All Saints, Wrington from 1962 unti12000.

He was awarded the British Empire Medal in the New Years Honours List in 1993 in recognition of his outstanding service to the community. He is a man of many talents with a great sense of humour, and a caring attitude towards those in need of help.

As Branch Secretary, Ken, you were always firmly in control, and will be greatly missed by the Committee members and Branch members alike. We hope that you will remain a member of the Committee for many years to come; your knowledge and experience is invaluable, and has helped overcome problems and changes over the years.

On behalf of the Committee may I wish you a happy retirement from the work as Secretary , and thank you for continuing as a Committee member.

Wishing you Good Health and Happiness for the future.

P.S. "Keep your pencil sharpened!"

Mike Wool
Branch Vice Chairman
(with a little help from Eve!)

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