Royal British Legion branch to celebrate 100th anniversary
- Credit: IAN BURT
A Norfolk branch of the Royal British Legion (RBL) is set to reach a very special milestone.
Dereham RBL will celebrate its centenary on Wednesday, January 19, marking exactly 100 years to the day since it was established.
A series of events are being planned throughout the year in recognition of the historic occasion, starting with an anniversary lunch on Wednesday at Cafe Verde in Mattishall.
It will be attended by dozens of the branch's 126 members.
Lynn Whitwell, vice chairman of Dereham RBL, said: "It is quite an achievement to reach 100 years, and we hope to continue doing various things to celebrate.
"We are still in the planning stages, but there will be plenty of functions throughout the year."
The Royal British Legion was formed on a national basis in 1921 in the aftermath of the First World War.
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Dereham's branch was just a few months behind when it was established in January 1922.
In a bid to sufficiently commemorate the anniversary, Mrs Whitwell and the legion are on the hunt for information, records and photographs relating to the launch and the early years - which has thus far been a struggle.
"It is such a shame that these records have seemingly been lost," she said.
"It would be lovely to know where they met and how many members there were when it started. There is very little information we can find."
While the Dereham legion branch currently boasts what Mrs Whitwell called a "healthy" membership, she admitted there was always a desire to find new recruits.
"We have a nucleus of about 30 who regularly attend our monthly meetings, but a lot of our members are quite elderly and cannot travel," she added.
"We do have some younger members but we would love more. It is the same with any organisation like us - we want young people to join but they are so busy.
"I would also like to take the opportunity to dispel this widely-held belief that members must have served in the armed forces. That is not the case and I, for example, have not served in the forces."
To help Lynn Whitwell in the search for information on the creation of the Dereham RBL branch, email email@example.com.