MEMBERS of Colne’s Royal British Legion Club voted overwhelmingly to separate the club side of the organisation from the Royal British Legion at a special general meeting on Sunday.
After votes were counted, it was found that 89% of ex-servicemen agreed that this was a way to try to ensure the survival of the Colne branch of the Legion, with a vote of 46 in favour of separation to only six against. On the vote from all members present at the meeting it was even more decisive, with 94% of the 139 voters in favour, with only eight against.
The background to this meeting has already been covered in this newspaper, but essentially the decision means that annual subscriptions paid by Colne members will be used to contribute to the running of the Colne club, as opposed to being sent to Legion HQ in London where it becomes lost in a general administration fund, with little or nothing coming back locally.
Following the meeting, which was chaired by Mr Paul Blackhurst, and having announced the result of the ballot, it was stressed to members present that the ultimate aim was to ensure the survival of Colne Legion – the club - so that Colne’s long and proud association with The Royal British Legion could be continued.
“Now the real hard work begins,” he said. “The committee must now strive to ensure that the proposal is implemented in a timely, legal and efficient manner, taking into account the views and wishes of our members.”
The committee is now setting in motion the complete review and reorganisation process necessary to implement the changes the members have backed. They have set a timetable to complete all changes by the end of this year, including looking at new club rules, how the club can increase its membership, ensuring that the Colne branch of the Royal British Legion remains in place while continuing to maintain the club’s position as an integral part of the Colne and Villages community.
Mr Blackhurst said: “We want to make sure that the members are consulted and kept informed throughout this process, and they will be fully involved in the final decisions made.”
A club spokesman added “We would like to reassure the people of Colne that essentially it is business as usual for Colne Legion, and long may it continue. Plans are well in hand for this year’s Armed Forces Day in June, the Poppy Appeal and Remembrance-tide in November and other Legion events that occur.”