British legion branch closes after 92 years

The end of the line for Buxton's Royal British Legion branch, the Chapel dambusters memorial ceremony is to be the last time the standard is flown on parade. President Mike Grey and secretary Wayne Taylor.
The end of the line for Buxton's Royal British Legion branch, the Chapel dambusters memorial ceremony is to be the last time the standard is flown on parade. President Mike Grey and secretary Wayne Taylor.
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Dwindling membership has caused the Buxton branch of an armed forces institution to fold after 92 years in the town.

The standard for Buxton Royal British Legion was flown for the last time at the Dambusters tribute service in Chapel–en–le–Frith last week, following the decision to close the branch at a meeting the night before.

The branch’s final president, Lieutenant Colonel Michael Gray, said: “It is with great sadness that we have to make this announcement.

“The membership has gone from several hundred to 25 and the average age of members is early to late 80s.

“There were not enough people to keep the club open any longer so at a meeting we decided to close the branch.”

He added that the branch headquarters, in Hardwick Square, which recently went up for sale, needed a lot of work doing to it.

“It is a huge building that needs probably up to £1million to renovate it,” Lt Col Gray explained.

“It was bought in 1946 by members of the branch. The money from the sale will go into trust for the Buxton branch in the headquarters of the Royal British Legion in London, so if the branch is reinstated the money will go there.

“If anybody in the area needs it they can still get help through that fund.”

He added that ex members of the branch would still continue to organise a Poppy Appeal in Buxton.

Former Royal Marine Commando Brian Mycock retired from his post as branch chairman last year after dedicating more than 60 years to the Royal British Legion.

He said the decision had been made to close the Buxton branch as not enough people came forward to form a committee.

“They managed to get a few people together to continue the poppy appeal, but of course it makes it difficult because they haven’t got a building,” Mr Mycock said.

With the branch disbanded, members will be forced to join other branches, such as Chapel.

The standard will be hung up in St John’s Church.