A LAST chance meeting to save a community's Royal British Legion (RBL) branch from closure is to be held this weekend.

Membership of the Legion is declining, and the Bridport branch - which also runs a community hall and used to raise tens of thousands of pounds for the RBL for the welfare of ex-servicemen each year - was able to carry on through the commitment of a few members.

However, the Bridport branch has been put under county administration after the long-standing office holders wanted to retire - and with no volunteers for chairman and treasurer the group says the branch cannot legally operate.

This also means that the RBL Hall in Victoria Grove, which is used by local groups, organisations and charities for fundraising events, could close without a group to run it.

In one last bid to save the branch, two meetings were organised at the hall with the aim of raising a new committee and prevent the branch's closure.

At the second meeting the group were able to obtain enough volunteers to form a new committee, however due to the fact some of the volunteers were not already RBL members a committee was unable to form on the day. Another meeting has been organised in the hopes that by then the volunteers will be able to be officially elected to the committee.

The election of the proposed committee members will take places at the RBL Hall in Victoria Grove at 11am on Saturday, July 2.

All branch members will be eligible to vote and any more members who would like to volunteer for the committee are invited to come along,

Dorset RBL member, Mike Thompson, is supporting the campaign to save the Bridport branch.

He said: "There is a campaign to save the Bridport branch of the RBL. Following lockdown where all activities were suspended, the Dorset county RBL is passionate with regard to the continued operation of the legion in Bridport.

"As an ex armed forces veteran myself, I appreciate the work and support supplied by the RBL for serving and retired military personnel. I think we all have a duty of care to play a small part in maintaining that support and care.

"This is why I am passionate that the RBL at Bridport should continue and provide a facility for social interaction and fund-raising activities. The next meeting is at the RBL hall in Victoria Grove Bridport (DT6 3AD) on Saturday 2nd July at 11am.

"The main purpose of this meeting is to save the Bridport branch of the RBL, elect a new committee and discuss an action plan going forward. The meeting is open to all serving, retired members of the armed forces and civilians. You do not need to be a member or retired member of the military to join the RBL."

The RBL has approximately 7,000 Legion members across the county, with around 30 branches, which are supported by 15 RBL Clubs.

The charity was formed in the aftermath of the First World War to fight for the rights of those who had given so much and come back to so little. Today, the RBL continues to provide life-changing help and support to the Armed Forces community and challenge injustices on their behalf.

Any questions about the committee elections should contact Dorset RBL Chairman Ian Jarvis by email at dorset.chairman@rbl.community