Attempt to revive Helensburgh Legion branch in 100th year of veterans charity

A NEWLY settled Helensburgh resident plans to revive the local branch of a veterans charity during its centennial.

Geoff Coles moved to the city in March from Cornwall, where he served for 17 years as president of the St Cleer branch of the Royal British Legion, which provides support to former service personnel and their families.

The Helensburgh Legion branch folded in 2018 and its colors were ‘laid down’ the following July after Irene White, who started the Burgh Group with her husband over 20 years ago, said a drop in membership and a reluctance among other things to take on the branch chair role was behind the move.

Now, in the 100th year of what is currently called Legion Scotland, Mr Coles is hoping to muster enough support to turn the organization around in his new hometown.

He told the Advertiser“After moving to Helensburgh, I looked on the Legion Scotland website for my local branch.

“G84 returns Bridge of Weir as closest with Largs as fallback.

READ MORE: Helensburgh branch of Legion Scotland lowers its ‘colours’ for the last time

“There is a branch in Glasgow, but still over 20 miles away.

“I don’t think a branch 20 miles away is at all appealing and totally unsuited to supporting the Legion’s goals in this community, so could I set up a branch?”

“It certainly can’t be difficult in an area where there are so many military families and ex-military people. Also, there was a branch here so all it needs is a kick (once Covid rules allow) and some volunteers.

Mr Coles, who has a son in the Royal Navy and another son and daughter-in-law in the Army, is encouraging local veterans to show interest in helping restart the Burgh Legion branch.

He said, “There are a few hurdles to jump through as a new branch – we need five or six members to join the committee and at least 15 members to get the branch off the ground.

“I want the Legion to be there for them [Mr Coles’ family] when they are my age.

A first meeting at the Commodore Inn will take place on Monday, September 6 at 7 p.m. for volunteers wishing to play an active role or join the committee.

Prospective members wishing to obtain more information are invited to email their name, contact details and service history, if any.

Membership is open to serving/former/serving family members and anyone else who supports the purposes of the Legion. Email helensleg@btinternet.com or call Geoff on 01436 677624.

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