Double celebration for Fakenham’s British Legion branch

There will be a double celebration for Fakenham's Royal British Legion branch on Sunday as they mark two significant anniversaries with a special Poppy Parade and concert party.

The event will commemorate the 80th anniversary of the legion's General Townshend Club on Cattle Market Street, which has been a social haunt for its members, including many former servicemen and women, since the 1930s.

And it will coincide with the 90th anniversary of the national Royal British Legion (RBL), which raises funds for the welfare of armed forces personnel, veterans and their dependants.

Joining in the celebrations will be the oldest member of the Fakenham branch, 93-year-old Jim Tuck, who was a pilot in the second world war, flying over the African desert and the Aegean sea. Mr Tuck saw a total of 31 years service in the RAF.

Younger members of the community will also play their part, with Scouts, Guides, cadets and other uniformed voluntary services joining in the parade and the fun afterwards.

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The parade will set out at 6pm from Queen's Road car park, with participating local dignitaries including branch chairman Col David James and branch president Jack Richards.

A traditional blessing will take place at the war memorial on Market Place at 6.30pm, before the Fakenham Town Band leads the procession to the General Townshend Club Green for a free concert at 7.30pm.

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There, visitors will be able to hear more music from Nelson's Shantymen and enjoy a hog roast and refreshments.

John Whiteside, vice-chairman of the branch and club, said he hoped for good weather and a large turnout for the event after the huge effort which had gone into organising the evening.

General Townshend set up the Fakenham branch of the RBL 80 years ago as part of the emerging national movement to help ex-servicemen and their families who had survived the horrors of the first world war, only to find themselves in dire need during the economic difficulties of the following decades.

Poppy Day which has become an annual tradition to raise money for the legion was first held in November 1921.

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