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The Royal British Legion


The Royal British Legion Hazelbury Bryan Branch

Dear Readers,

Whilst this might not be the last time I write this monthly article it will be the last time I do so as the Chairman of the Branch, at least for the time being. After four years I am stepping down in order that a younger, fresher and more dynamic person can take the helm. I have always been of the opinion that no Chair should be held by one person for more than four (sometimes three) years before handing the baton on. It is all too easy to become set in one’s ways, lose the dynamism and become complacent if one stays on too long and thus I am handing on to James Porter who, as a member of the committee these past four years, is well versed in the requirements and challenges of a small branch such as ours.

In departing I would like to express my very sincere thanks to my committee over the period of my tenure. They have been absolutely solid in their support and not only have we achieved a great deal, huge increase in membership, many successful fund raising events but we have raised considerable sums for both the Poppy Appeal and Dorset RBL Welfare. I am also deeply indebted to those of you reading this who have stepped up to the mark and become RBL members. Thank you for your support. As is the nature of the “beast”, it is always you the readers and others who live in the immediate vicinity of Hazelbury Bryan that we call upon for donations and support again and again. I thank you all for your generosity over the years.

There are primarily two sides to RBL funding, on the one hand money raised, generally through the events that we organise throughout the year, which is designated for “Welfare”. That money stays in Dorset, is sent to the Dorset RBL head office welfare account and helps to fund the needs of veterans and their families who are struggling to make ends meet or need some other form of help. The other side is the Poppy Appeal. Many people see this as something that happens predominantly in November. That is not the case although of course that is when it has its highest profile. I would like to express my sincere thanks to all those worthy people within the parish who year after year make themselves available as collectors and do the foot work necessary to sell poppies and take donations. Unfortunately, as this copy has to be with the editor by 14th of the month and with poppy collection still going on as I write, I am unable to let you know how much was collected this year, but I shall ask my successor to include the figure in the next issue.

Live On
To the memory of the fallen and the future of the living


Hazelbury War MemorialThe village has a thriving branch of the Royal British Legion which was rejuvenated in 2014 and is building its membership as we go.
In 2013 it was 23 and by the end of 2014 had increased to 64. New members are always welcome, we and those we support need new blood and our aim is to grow to 100 and keep that as our bottom line. Membership is not exclusively for serving or ex-servicemen but for all who wish to support the Legions aims. Indeed the majority of members have no connection with the services but appreciate the need to support what we do.

- Committee -
   President  Graham Belsham
  Chairman Jeremy Moger 01258 817232 
  Vice Chairman Sandra Boggon 01258 817228
  Secretary   Carol Lewis 01258 817391
  Treasurer / PAO David Collins
  Standard Bearer Ernie Cluett
- Committee Members -
  James Porter  
  Richard Lewis  
  Alun Read  
  Godfrey Symes  
  Jim Kirby  

What does the Legion do?
Poppy collection

Well most people know about Remembrance and Poppy collection but what happens to all that money:


  • Nearly 9 million people in the UK are eligible to call on us for support.

  • In 2011, the Legion gave 11,000 individuals financial advice and more importantly peace of mind. The average beneficiary was £3,100 better off as a result.

  • The legion gives advice and training to service men and women preparing to leave the colour so that they are equipped to take on new careers in civilian life, over 1000 each year.

  • 8,000 individuals or families were assisted to take much needed breaks and holidays.

  • The Legion runs Break Centres and Retirement Homes to cater for the needs at all ages.

  • £30 million has been committed to Break Back Centres, established to help rehabilitate those who have been injured or need emotional support.
So how do we help?    
The Legion runs recovery centres for injured personnel, advice and support for bereaved families, provide care homes, careers advice, companionship, inquest advice, handy van service, short breaks, immediate needs grants and much more.
2,500 branches around the UK offer comradeship and support.

Hip & Knee Surgery Service.

If you are an ex-serviceman or woman reading this article, regardless of whether you are Royal British Legion member or not the “Veterans Hip and Knee Surgery Service” could be for you or for someone you know, so please read on.

As an armed forces veteran, you can ask for a referral to a specialist Orthopaedic clinic at The Robert Jones and Edith Hunt Orthopaedic Hospital, Oswestry, Shropshire, SY10 7AG. There is a specific Veterans Clinic run by Lt Col Carl Meyer, an Army Reserve consultant surgeon who also works with 202 Field Ambulance and Reserve Hospital. Lt Col Meyers specialises in hips and knees. If you are having a long wait via your GP/Local Hospital this might be the way to follow. A typical wait is +/- 6 weeks from referral to operation and all costs are covered by the NHS.

Even if you have served for just one day, provided you are registered as a “veteran” you qualify for applying. You will need to show a copy of your service record and medical records but these are easily obtainable from: https://www.gov.uk/get-copy-military-service-records/apply-for-your-own-records .

How to apply? Through your GP – ask to be referred to the VETERANS HIP AND KNEE SURGERY SERVICE at Oswestry and ask your GP to make a named referral to Lt Col Meyer. Contact information Email: rebecca.ann.jones@rjah.nhs.uk Tel: 01691 404344.

Whilst none of this might be relevant to you the reader you may have relations or friends to whom it could be vitally important not least to save them both a long wait and/or paying privately so please think who you know who might benefit and pass on this information.

Events 2017

For those of you who are RBL members or those of you who might wish to become members please make a note in your diary of the following dates:

  • July (date to be notified) an outing to HMS Victory, The Mary Rose, HMS Warrior & The Royal Navy Museum.
  • 13 August. Members BBQ at Manor Farm, for RBL members, friends and family.
  • 24 September. A sponsored Dog Walk to raise funds for the RBL.
  • 12 October. Hazelbury Bryan Branch Young Singers and Musicians Charity Concert in Sherborne Abbey. NOT TO BE MISSED.

Parish Magazine Article - May 2017

The village has a thriving branch of the Royal British Legion which was rejuvenated in 2013 and is building its membership as we go.
In 2013 we had 23 members and by the end of 2016 had increased to 88.
New members are always welcome, we and those we support need new blood and our aim is to grow to 100 and keep that as our bottom line. Membership is not exclusively for serving or ex-servicemen but for all who wish to support the Legions aims.
Indeed, the majority of members have no connection with the services but appreciate the need to support what we do.

What DO we Do?

The Legion runs recovery centres for injured personnel, advice and support for bereaved families, provide care homes, careers advice, companionship, inquest advice, handy van service, short breaks, immediate needs grants and much more. 2,000 branches around the UK offer comradeship and support with a recent National initiative called “Branch Community Support.”
If you feel membership coming on or know of any ex-service man or women or their immediate family who might need our support please let us know.

We currently cover: Hazelbury Bryan, Pulham, Fifehead St Quinton, Ibberton, Woolland, Winterbourne Houghton, Milton Abbas, Cheselbourne, Melcombe Bingham, Ansty and Mappowder.

Editors Note: The Wine Tasting evening referred to in last month’s article should have read 23 June in the village Hall.

Parish Magazine Article - April 2017

This article starts with a very heartfelt thank you to those of you who responded to my invitation in my February article and contacted either myself or Carol Lewis (Branch Secretary) to request an application form to take out membership. Many branches across both the county and the country are hemorrhaging members due to a number of factors. The demographic of the majority of members can be seen to be those in their sixties and beyond, gradually of course these older members are dying, in the majority of cases the young do not have the memory of the two World Wars and perhaps do not see the relevance of joining. Other military charities (there are approximately 154 of them) which do not have a membership yet have a high public profile are taking a larger chunk of the donations without having to commit to membership. Nevertheless, this situation can be halted and even turned around as this branch has proved, having increased from the low twenties three years ago to the low eighties today with another ten in the pipeline. Please as you read this do consider the part you can play by becoming a member. You can be as passive as you want to be but by hanging your colours to TRBL mast you are showing your support for what is an extremely valuable and necessary cause.

In February’s article I gave three examples of how ex-servicemen/women and/or their spouses benefit when faced with a problem, a need or require long or short term support, almost never of their own making and almost always not foreseen until disaster strikes. The county alone in terms of welfare support to veterans and their dependents needs in the region of £180.000 each year. There are homeless ex-servicemen living rough on the streets of Bournemouth, Poole and other county towns, there are dependents who due to the death of a spouse can no longer meet their financial commitments and there are servicemen and women injured in more recent conflicts that need our support.

I have mentioned it before but last year TRBL launched “Branch Community Support” which falls under the following activities

  • Legion Awareness Events – as a member of this branch and by spreading the word, by holding events or coffee mornings, etc you can make others aware.
  • Telephone Buddies – you can give someone who is isolated, lonely and lacking in companionship a chance to have a chat and feel part of the community.
  • Home & Hospital Visitor – Either in hospital or at home, for some people days go by with no one to speak to. Might you be a visitor?
  • Bereavement Support – what so often happens is that a few weeks after the loss of a loved one the immediate family and friends not unnaturally revert to their usual routine and the person left feels the loneliness more and more acutely. Could you help?


If you are already a member then by offering to help in any of these activities you will be doing an enormous service to our community. We do need people to be our eyes, ears and voice on the ground so do please contact us if you can help or if you know of someone who might benefit from any of these support activities.

Please note that the Wine Tasting evening (open to all) will now be on 23rd May in the Village Hall. Time to be notified.

Parish Magazine Article - March 2017

In my February article I invited those of you who read the parish magazine and hopefully this article not only to consider membership but also that as a branch we do try to organise events, both fund raising and just fun for all our members. We have now set the programme of events for this year and here is what is on offer although not all the dates are yet set:

  • Skittles evenings at The Antelope – 4 evenings between April & September.
  • Wine Tasting evening in the village hall – 12 May.
  • A Sunday sponsored dog walk ending at a pub for lunch.
  • Day out to visit HMS Victory & HMS Warrior at Portsmouth Dockyard.
  • Summer BBQ for members, their families and friends – 13 August (tbc).
  • Charity Concert in sherborne Abbey – this is our major fund raiser – 12 Oct.
  • Remembrance Tal by Lt Col James Porter in the village hall – 4 November.
  • Race Night in the village hall 10 November.

Please, if you are interested in any of the above, put the dates in your diary if you are already a member and if you are not get in touch, we can still take you but will either ask you to join or make a donation towards our on going fund raising.
Every five years the Royal British Legion reviews its Strategy and produces a new five year plan. The Plan is designed to provide the depth, and quality of service our beneficiaries deserve across four main priorities:

  • IMPACT. Improving the ways we provide support.
  • MEMBERSHIP. Forging stronger links with membership.
  • REMEMBERANCE. Championing commemoration and passing on the torch to the next generation.
  • OPERATIONAL EXCELLENCE. Improving our ways of working to support the wider community.

In addition to the Five Year plan, the Ministry of Defence after much consultation with many organisations, has selected The Royal British Legion from amongst all 153 charities that serve the armed forces, as the access point for all veterans (British Legion Members or not) to apply for assistance. The initiative is called “Veterans Gateway”. This means that any service, ex-service or family member/widow/widower who need assistance first apply to the RBL for help. Through “The Veterans Gateway” their needs will be passed to the most appropriate charity to assist. Some of the charities that have signed up to the Veterans Gateway are:
Poppy Scotland, SSAFA, Combat Stress, Connect Assist, Shelter, Veterans UK, Cruse Bereavement Care, Tax Help for Older People, RBLI, CTP, Mind, Blind Veterans UK, Stoll, Blesma, Relate, Help for Heroes, Walking with the Wounded, SAIL, RFEA Forces Employment Charity with more to follow.
What this means in effect is that instead of the RBL trying to be “all things to all men” they will take the first enquiry and then move it to the charity best equipped to assist, thus making it a “one stop shop” in the first instance for those seeking help, meaning they will not have to search through the many charities that are out there, it will be done for them. This is a great step forward and will ensure that veterans and those that qualify will get quickly to the organisation best suited to cope.

Parish Magazine Article - February 2017

Have you ever stopped to consider how many people of the roughly four hundred or so who receive this Parish Magazine, read the various articles that appear on a regular basis? Every month I write and submit an article under the heading of The Royal British Legion. In it I try to explain what the Legion does, how it raises its money and how that money is distributed. Every month I invite those of you who read this article to become members of The Royal British Legion at a princely cost of £17 a year. To date after three years of monthly articles not one person has responded as a result of that invitation in the parish magazine!!

 That having been said, since I took over chairmanship in 2013, together with my very supportive committee we have increased the membership from 24 to 83. We are probably one of the only branches in the country, let alone in the county to have increased in size, yet the need to support injured servicemen and women, many with PTSD or being made redundant and needing training in new skills or maybe they are one of the 350 ex-servicemen living rough, the need for support continues to grow. If you are reading this article and are not a member, why don't you start the year by being the first person to respond? No, you don't have to have been in the services and in fact the majority of members never have been and have no recent connection. You are not being asked to do any more than become a member. Yes, you receive quarterly magazines and other information and yes, we as a committee run various events both to raise money but also to provide you, our members with fun and interesting things to do and see, battlefield tours, members BBQ, visits to museums, race evenings, skittle evenings, in short, a chance to meet others socially and have fun as part of our village community.

Where does the money go?

 John Price, 58, was a gunner, discharged in 2014 was on the streets in Carlisle homeless and hungry.  Someone tapped him on the shoulder and said why don't you contact the RBL. "What for"? He asked. "Well that's what they are for".

Rosie Shaw 53, after her husband died she couldn't afford the essentials for her disability. She contacted the RBL who were able to assist.

 Jack Cunningham lost his leg in an IED explosion in Afghanistan. After expert medical care and rehab his wife contacted the RBL who were able to help the family who were struggling to make ends meet.

The Poppy Appeal is only one very small but important part of what goes on, one means of many to raise the funds desperately needed for our veterans. Membership helps to secure the Legions future. Please take this opportunity to respond to my request and contact either myself (Jeremy Moger) on 817232 or our secretary (Carol Lewis) on 817391 and ask for a membership application form. I ask you to do it now.

The Royal British Legion - Hazelbury Bryan Branch (July/August 2016)

I write this month’s article as I watch the Trooping of the Colour on Horse Guards Parade, Her Majesty looking splendid in a vibrant green outfit and the pomp, ceremony and sheer precision of those on parade just make one so proud to be British. The British Army on this occasion being represented by, “The Thin Red Line” of the Brigade of Guards. How can one be anything other than supremely proud of these and all the soldiers, sailors, airmen and women who provide us with the defence of our country. Servicemen and women who, over the years and decades have fought, died and been wounded in the service of their country. It is they that before, now and in the future will need our support and it is our role as members of the Royal British Legion to provide the focus both for Remembrance and to provide the continuing support that serving and past servicemen and women need.

I am reminded as I watch the Trooping of the Colour that it is Her Majesty who is the Patron of the Royal British Legion and who better, in a life time of service to her country, stands as a symbol of support to all her subjects. If in reading this article you feel that you could give your support, not only in Remembrance during November each year but by becoming a member of the Legion then please contact one of our committee (details on the Hazelbury Bryan website). Membership is not restricted to those serving or those who have served. Membership is open to all regardless of occupation and circumstance. As well as membership (£16) we run fund raising events to which we welcome members and non-members. Those for the remainder of the year are:

7th July 2016   Visit to the Small Arms School Corps Museum.
9th July 2016   Swanage Railway outing with dinner.
24th July 2016   Sponsored Dog Walk.
17th August 2016   Sailing on the Solent.
20th Aug 2016   Manor Farm Musical evening and member’s get-together (open to non-members).
1st Sep 2016   Battlefield Tour to Sedgefield.
14th Oct 2016   Race Night in the Village Hall.

We are also organising sea fishing trips out of Weymouth, Skittles evenings at the Antelope and a trip to the Tank Museum with a guide in October. Again any and all of these activities are available for any reader of the magazine, friends and family.

Finally, due to the closure of a number of branches within Dorset, the branch boundaries have been reviewed and changed. Hazelbury Bryan branch now incorporates the following villages and I would welcome contact from any current RBL members so that we can bring you onto our membership list and thereafter be available to support you:

Hazelbury Bryan, Milton Abbas, Cheselbourne, Melcombe Bingham, Ansty, Winterborne Houghton, Mappowder, Wooland, Ibberton, Kingston, Fifehead St Quinton and Pulham.

Parish Magazine Article - June 2016

It is always rather testing to write an article for the parish magazine at this time of year when, certainly to the public eye, there is little mention of the Royal British Legion in the national press and many other topics draw our attention from the pages of our daily newspapers. That having been said there is one major activity taking place at the time I write and although not under the auspices of TRBL it touches the same theme, “The Invictor Games”. To see those men and women, armless, legless, traumatised, with physical and mental injuries many of them multiple, competing in every kind of challenging sport which, many of us whole bodied individuals could only dream about taking part in, is to me a very humbling experience. I feel sure that I am not alone in shedding a tear of emotion when watching the opening ceremony and some of the events that were screened on our television and listened to some of the stories.

Take for example the Royal Marine who lost both his legs on and IED, his mate who went to his aid, saved his life by applying immediate first aid whilst awaiting casevac and then himself suffered PTSD as a result of having done what he did. They stood on the stage at the Games, the first standing centre stage and spotlighted where his prosthetic legs were all too visible, as he told his story. His mate (the one who saved him) a little behind and in shadow, why? Because his injury, every bit as traumatic is invisible. Nobody knows, yet he suffers every bit as much and one might say more. And after the telling of the story he walks into the light and they embrace. Brave men in conflict but even braver in the aftermath.

These brave men and women are all too easily forgotten as we go about our daily lives but it is the job of The Royal British Legion not to forget them and to support them in any and every way we can. You can do your bit if you feel you want to, it doesn’t take much. A donation, an annual membership, join in one of our events all of which have a little bit added on so that we can slowly accumulate funds. Last year just with our 80 odd members we raised over £15,000 to go directly to the welfare of our veterans and their families in their time of need. Here is a list of our activities throughout the year and they are open to all comers (RBL members or not)

We are also organising sea fishing trips out of Weymouth, Skittles evenings at the Antelope and a trip to the Tank Museum with a guide in October. Again any and all of these activities are available for any reader of the magazine, friends and family.

We want you centre stage in the spotlight and invite you to embrace those on the outside, bring them in and help us to raise the funds that are needed whilst at the same time enjoying activities that help to bring us together as a community.
Your contacts are:
Jeremy Moger (Chairman) 817232
Carol Lewis (Secretary) 817391

Chairman's Newsletter - July 2015

I am hoping that those of you who read the Parish Magazine are now familiar with the fact that we, your branch of the Legion, will always have a feature each month. As long as I am chairman I shall try to ensure that this continues although I do confess that sometimes I have to dig deep to fill the page when there may appear to be little happening. I do though try to keep up to date with Legion activities across the nation and I am amazed how much is being done by branches large and small from every corner of the country.
In addition to all the county branches (Dorset has some 43, although some are closing due to falling membership numbers) there are the following:

Your support really matters. All supporters are welcome, you don't have to have an Armed Forces background. Membership costs £15 a year.

What does membership mean to you?
Alan Mak is a Legion member and founder of the Young Professionals' Branch.
“We have the best Armed Forces in the world, and I wanted young professionals across Britain to play a key role in ensuring that they are looked after when they come home having served our country”. So says a young city professional with no military connection who has stepped up to the mark to show his support.
As always I invite you the readers, your family and friends to do the same and contact us with a view to becoming a member.
As a Branch, we recently conducted a very successful Battlefield Tour to Waterloo and Mons which was open to all comers, member or not and next year we are planning a battlefield tour to Normandy. Would that interest you? Get in touch.
We are also organising a BBQ on Sunday 2nd August which if you have aspirations to join you would be most welcome to.
Other forthcoming events include a concert to be held in Sherborne Abbey in Nov (12th) and yet another trip on the Wessex Belle Railway to include lunch, in Dec (date to be advised).
As always our contacts are: Jeremy Moger (Chairman) 01258 817232 or Jim Kirby (Secretary) 10258 817244

click to visit The Royal British Legion website

The 'Memorial Oak' The 'Memorial Oak' The 'Memorial Oak'
The 'Memorial Oak'
November 2014
The 'Memorial Oak'
The 'Memorial Oak'

British Military Watches