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Sad end for Wymondham Royal British Legion women’s section branch standard

Wymondham Remembrance Day in 2015. Dawn Jessett, front, second from right, is showin lowering the standard of the Wymondham Royal British Legion, Ladies' Branch. Picture: SONYA DUNCAN

Wymondham Remembrance Day in 2015. Dawn Jessett, front, second from right, is showin lowering the standard of the Wymondham Royal British Legion, Ladies' Branch. Picture: SONYA DUNCAN

Archant Norfolk Photographic © 2015

For decades, it has been a symbol of service, charity and community spirit.

But now, the standard of the woman’s section of the Wymondham Royal British Legion (RBL) is about to be ‘laid up’ at Wymondham Abbey, following the closure of the women’s section last September.

Sandy Dean, a chairman of the branch, said it would be a symbolic end to the women’s section, which had been running since 1953 and was forced to close, along with many other women’s section branches, due to a re-organisation at a national level last year.

Mrs Dean said it was a shame the branch, which had raised thousands of pounds for good causes through the decades, had to close.

She said: “We were informed they would close all county committees so we would be answerable directly to the head office.

“But that has meant that of the 750 branches throughout the country, most of them are closing. There were 27 branches in Norfolk but at the moment, there’s only four or five still open.”

Mrs Dean said it was a sombre occasion.

She said: “It is sad because we always took part in the Remembrance Day parades, and to march behind the standard made you feel quite proud. They’ve taken that way from us.”

Mrs Dean said tha originally, the branch was just for servicewomen and ex-servicewomen, but for a long time it had been open to all women.

She said: “By the end, we only had 30 members, but we were very active, raising in excess of £1,000 a year just from our branch. We helped out with the poppy collection each year and did a lot of other things.

“We’re still going to have coffee mornings and things and raise money, but now we’re just going to do it for local charities. We’ve already had one for the Walnut Tree Project, which helps veterans.”

Mrs Dean said the flag would go on permanent display at the abbey.

She said: “There will be a short ceremony as part of the morning Eucharist at 10.30am on Sunday (February 19).

“The standard will then be taken to the altar and it will be handed to the vicar for safekeeping.”

Mrs Dean said everyone was welcome to attend.

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