Update From The Royal British Legion, Stowmarket and District Branch

We hope and trust that you are all well. The committee members fully understand that these are worrying times and we will do all we can to assist where we can. To begin with, the club itself is closed and all meetings (club, branch and associations) have been cancelled until further notice. In addition to this, all activities are cancelled until further notice. We will keep you informed of updates as and when we receive them via our website and on our Facebook page: www.branches.britishlegion.org.uk/branches/stowmarket.

Stowmarket Town Council are also providing coordinated support via their website: www.stowmarkettowncouncil.gov.uk.

Some updates from county:

Welfare: All BCS Hospital and housebound visits have stopped.
If you find yourself in need of support and are eligible for Legion help, please call the contact centre on 0808 802 8080.
National Conference has been cancelled in its current form.

Member HQ has created an email address where members can contact the department if they have any queries about COVID-19 in relation to membership activity (although all the staff are now working remotely from home): [email protected].

Additionally, membership cards are now being printed once a week, and cheques being banked every two weeks. So please be patient.
Haig House and area offices have now been closed with staff working from home where possible. No post will be collected while the offices remain closed. This may result in a delay in reply to enquiries sent to Head Office and Regional staff.

If you are self-isolating there are a number of RBL members who are willing and able to assist as follows:

If you are self-isolating, or just need a hand with something due to COVID-19, we may be able to assist with things including picking up shopping, posting mail, a friendly phone call, urgent supplies or other tasks. Please contact the Branch Secretary, Steve Runciman at [email protected] or 07860 120695 and he will direct you to one of the volunteers who will do everything they can to assist you.

Please protect yourself against fraudsters. Never give out personal details. The members who are able and willing to assist will be more than happy to identify themselves if you request assistance by presenting their RBL membership card along with another document containing a photo (driving licence for example) and we would expect you to ask for this, at least when first meeting us (from a distance of course).


Despite having no meetings we are keeping in touch with members by telephone. Alas none of the events that had been planned for VE Day were able to take place, but we celebrated in our own homes and gardens. Sue keeps us informed by newsletter and she also includes a quiz for us to do. A monthly draw also takes place and the winning member receives a small prize.

We look forward to being able to continue with our meetings once the lockdown restrictions are lifted. Until then stay safe and well. Sue is always available should members need help: 07709 287816


It has certainly been an interesting time over the past month for shipmates of Stowmarket RNA, with many treating it as if they were away at sea on a long-deployment. Though admittedly, without a run ashore in a foreign port. It could be argued that a visit into the garden to help with more than simply cutting the grass has been like visiting a new foreign port. Certainly a new experience!

Everyone has been keeping in touch with one another on a regular basis, either by email, phone or virtual get-togethers every Wednesday evening. And our monthly newsletter, which was only two-pages before the lockdown, has morphed into a minimum of six-pages each month, with a mix of advice, news (navy type), recipes and, of course, lots of jokes to keep our spirits up.

Keeping in contact hasn’t just been a local thing either, with shipmates from around the country also coming together via Zoom and Facebook. And, on the 75th anniversary of VE Day, the General Secretary, Captain Bill Oliphant hosted a 7pm toast to the Queen, the NHS and other front-line workers, to the memory of those sailors who gave their lives during the Second World War and absent friends. We were also joined by the National President, Vice Admiral John McAnally, proving that in times of hardship and a national call to arms, all ranks and rates of Her Majesty’s Royal Navy are one ship’s company, wherever they may be.

By the time you read this, we, like you, hope that there will be more news about where we will be in the coming weeks and months. In the meantime, every shipmate wishes you and your families fair winds and safe seas. Once Navy, Always Navy.

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