Legion’s women’s sections dismiss merger proposal

Lesley Willcocks (left) and Hazel Kingswood (right) are leading members of the Norfolk Branch of Roy

Lesley Willcocks (left) and Hazel Kingswood (right) are leading members of the Norfolk Branch of Royal British Legion Women's Section and are opposing plans for an amalgamation with The Royal British Legion which is scheduled to take place in October this year.Picture: MARK BULLIMORE

It has been a source of support for servicemen and their families for almost 80 years.

But now Norfolk members of the Royal British Legion (RBL) Women's Section are threatening to sever ties with the charity. It follows a decision by the RBL board of trustees that falling membership has made a merger with the main charity necessary.

However, women's section acting county chairman, Hazel Kingswood accused the charity's bosses of acting in a dictatorial manner.

She said: 'This has caused a furore of disgust and amazement. We cannot be dictated to without any consultation. It feels like we are going back 100 years to when women did not have the vote.'

Mrs Kingswood added that many women's branches would be likely to disband or break away from the RBL if the merger is forced through.

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The proposal would see women's county committee disbanding, but branches being retained.

The Norfolk Women's Section was launched in 1937 and has 27 branches.

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A Royal British Legion spokesman said: 'The changes will have little or no impact on the activities of women's section branches, which have a long history of supporting the armed forces community and we look forward to continued dialogue in order to retain the great wealth of experience, expertise and enthusiasm of its staff and members.'

What do you think about the dispute? Write (giving your full contact details) to: The Letters Editor, EDP, Prospect House, Rouen Road, Norwich NR1 1RE or email EDPLetters@archant.co.uk

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