Ryhall and District branch of The Royal British Legion parades in the village for the final time

Final parade of the Ryhall and District Branch of The Royal British Legion
Final parade of the Ryhall and District Branch of The Royal British Legion
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Members of Ryhall and District Branch of the Royal British Legion completed their final Remembrance Sunday parade this morning.

Starting at The Square at 10.30am, the group marched towards the parish church of St John The Evangelist, where a service was held.

Brian Curtis and Mervyn Waters at the final parade of the Ryhall and District Branch of The Royal British Legion

Brian Curtis and Mervyn Waters at the final parade of the Ryhall and District Branch of The Royal British Legion

They were joined by local scouts and brownies and watched by dozens of local residents.

Founded in the 1930s as an offshoot of the Stamford branch and becoming a branch in its own right in 1969, in recent years it has struggled to attract new members. With most of the remaining members in their eighties, the difficult decision was taken to close.

Carol Urry, who has been branch chairman for around 10 years, joined in 1997 while still serving with the Queen Alexandra’s Royal Army Nursing Corps (QARANC). She said: “It’s a sad day, but we are going out in style.

“I’m the youngest member but the rest are in their eighties. We’ve tried for many years to attract new, younger members but have not succeeded. We only have seven people who attend committee meetings.

final parade of the Ryhall and District Branch of The Royal British Legion

final parade of the Ryhall and District Branch of The Royal British Legion

“There are lots of military bases in the area but despite that we haven’t been able to get the numbers to keep going.

“Maybe one day the branch could be relaunched, but for now it is closing down.

“In future years we will still read the names of the fallen in the church, but we will not parade.”

Mervyn Waters, 83, is one of the branch’s longest-serving members. He joined the Royal Navy in 1949, serving for 10 years as a petty officer in the engine rooms of many different ships on duty in the Mediterranean.

Following the parade, a service was held at the parish church of St John The Evangelist

Following the parade, a service was held at the parish church of St John The Evangelist

Mr Waters said: “There must have been 80 members at its peak, but its much less than that now. In years gone by we would organise fundraising fetes, dances and other events, but we are too old for that now.

“It’s sad, but there isn’t a younger generation of members to keep it going and take on the responsibility.”

Parades and services have been held across our area this morning. See next week’s paper for a full round-up.