Newbury Royal British Legion celebrates fresh start with open day
People congregated at the Newbury Royal British Legion to celebrate its branch open day on Saturday, February 25.
The reason behind the occasion was twofold; to reveal the club house's recent £30,000 refurbishment – and to state its intentions going forwards.
The event opened with an address by branch chairman and club secretary, Keith Williams.
Mr Williams explained the Legion needs to change to appeal to younger generations to ensure its future survival – a major factor for the refurb.
The committee wishes to alter the public's perception of the club and branch as being exclusively limited to current or ex-services personnel.
On the contrary, any individual or community group can visit or hire its renovated facilities for various meetings or functions – so long as they are registered as Legion members to become club members.
"People see the Legion as a club where old fogeys sit around and talk about the war", said Mr Williams.
"Do you see any old veterans around here," he asked the room. "If you do, I will very willingly go and shake their hand."
Newbury Mayor, Gary Norman, also addressed attendees and presented certificates to Barry Sheppard and David Foreman in thanks for the memorabilia display they curated in the cloakroom.
The club, now 200 members strong, is planning events to promote the new space as a community hub across the year. It recently appointed someone to run its social media channels to this effect.
Newbury Camera Club, headquartered in the Haig Hall, mounted permanent displays of its work in the hall the same morning.
The public is again invited to the club next Sunday, March 5, which is hosting a service to commemorate the 80th anniversary of the sinking of HMS Tigris.