Anyone interested in joining West Dereham Branch of the Royal British Legion should click here to download a membership form. Once completed please return it to the Secretary – Nick Cann.
History of West Dereham Branch
The inaugural meeting of the Branch took place on 2 November 2013. This meeting was chaired by the Chairman of Norfolk County, Major (ret’d) Bill Kerr, who is a member of Downham and District Branch. Following this meeting, HQ Norfolk County RBL was provided with a list of 16 names from the village who had confirmed their interest in joining. (Note: Any man or woman over 17 years of age who accepts the aims and objectives of the RBL and is prepared to commit to supporting their Branch may become a member.) On 13 February 2014, County HQ confirmed the formation of our Branch, with the number BR 3689. West Dereham previously had been a sub-Branch of Downham & District, with formation in 1955 and closure c1970.
Peter Starling was elected the first Branch Chairman and remains so. His father was the Secretary of our Branch from the 1950s. Nick Cann (formerly a regular commissioned officer in the Queens Own Buffs/ Queens Regiment) is Branch Secretary. Tom Foy, a non-commissioned officer (NCO) in the RAF Regiment, acts as Branch Standard Bearer. Lorraine Hunt is the BranchTreasurer; Paula Kellingray is the Branch’s Poppy Appeal Co-ordinator; Richard French is the Branch ‘Community Support Officer’ responsible for welfare matters. There are 4 meetings held annually at midday on Sundays in the Village Hall followed by a social activity as follows: March (with sandwich lunch), June (followed by pub lunch), September AGM (with sandwich lunch), November (two-course seated lunch). By the end of our first full year (2014-15), the strength of the Branch has increased to 22. By the end of the second year (2015-16) membership had increased to 28.
The first Branch event was held on 4 August 2014 at 10.00 pm. This was a ‘Lights Out’ Ceremony held at the War Memorial with a reception afterwards in the Village Hall, commemorating 100 years since the outbreak of the 1st World War. Attendance for this event was 40+.
A new Standard was purchased in May 2016 and a Service of Dedication held in St Andrew’s Church on 9 September 2016 with Rev Ken Waters officiating. The Chairman of Norfolk County attended plus representatives from other Norfolk Branches including four Branch Standards. A celebratory lunch followed in the Village Hall attended by 40.
West Dereham has appeared in the January 2017 edition of Royal British Legion’s quarterly magazine – ‘Legion’ – which featured a 2-page article on our Standard Bearer under the title: “The RAF Corporal who carries the Standard for his Branch”. Tom carried our Standard at the annual Festival of Remembrance held in the Royal Albert Hall in November 2016 and will do so again in November 2017. In February 2017 at the annual Norfolk County RBL Conference, West Dereham received the CW Lex Cup for Progress and Efficiency by a Junior Branch (in 2015-16). To date, £700.00 has been paid into the Earl Haig Poppy Appeal Fund.
To view the minutes of the April 2017 meeting click here.
To view the report given at the Annual Parish Meeting in 2017 click here.
For more information about the Royal British Legion please follow this link