Norwich Royal British Legion's members appeal after weathering pandemic

Hugh King, chairman of the Royal British Legion in Norfolk 

Hugh King, chairman of the Royal British Legion in Norfolk - Credit: Royal British Legion

The Norwich branch of the Royal British Legion (RBL) is looking to start a new chapter after saying goodbye to its home and being hit by Covid.

The legion has seen its membership numbers dwindle over the past year as it weathered the pandemic.

Chairman of the RBL in Norfolk, Hugh King, said the coronavirus period has resulted in many members being unable to continue for financial and health-related reasons and being unable to attend meetings. 

Mr King said: "Nothing has really happened for nearly two years because of Covid and everything being virtual. We got the idea of restructuring the Norwich branch and we are hoping to move forward." 

Despite fundraising events being largely decimated by the pandemic, Mr King was informed the Poppy Appeal has raised a quarter of a million pounds for the RBL nationally since November. 

But he is appealing for new members to sign up, and said the popular misconception that you need to have served in the British Armed Forces to join is not true. 

The group previously sold its Aylsham Road base in 2015 and is on the look-out for a new home.

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It was taken over by YMCA Norfolk and will have a future as a community hub.

The Royal British Legion Jubilee Jall in Aylsham Road, Norwich. Photo: Bill Smith

The former Royal British Legion site on Aylsham Road in Norwich - Credit: Bill Smith - Archant

Mr King said: "A lot of investment was needed to get that up and running properly for building purposes. Lots of money was spent so the legion decided to close it.

"Some of the money the Norwich branch has could be spent on new headquarters, but in the meantime we are looking for accommodation once we get it moving forward.

"We have a couple of places in mind to hold the legion meetings again as it is important to get Norwich on the map again being our main city."

The chairman said there are up to 20 people interested in returning to the branch at the moment ahead of an online meeting on Thursday, May 13, starting at 6.30pm. 

Royal British Legion Club , Aylsham Road, NorwichRBL clubs closing across the country- but booming

The Royal British Legion Club on Aylsham Road in Norwich before it was sold - Credit: Archant Library

The aim of the first meeting is to discuss the next stage in the process of potentially forming a new branch committee. 

If you are interested in joining the Norwich branch, contact 07769 960547 or 0800 3077773.