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One of Suffolk's last remaining RBL Women's Sections closes after 90 years

PUBLISHED: 16:12 14 February 2018 | UPDATED: 16:12 14 February 2018

A photo from the Southwold and Reydon RBL women's section 80th birthday in 2007. Suffolk president Maureen Cole (left) presents a certificate to Southwold president Mollie Robinson.
Photo: Bill Darnell
Copy: Dave Lennard
For: LJ
Archant © 2007 (01603) 772434

A photo from the Southwold and Reydon RBL women's section 80th birthday in 2007. Suffolk president Maureen Cole (left) presents a certificate to Southwold president Mollie Robinson. Photo: Bill Darnell Copy: Dave Lennard For: LJ Archant © 2007 (01603) 772434

Archant © 2007

One of Suffolk's last remaining branches of the Royal British Legion Women's Section has announced its closure after 90 years service.

Sue Doy, former chairman and secretary of the Southwold and Reydon branch, said it was with “great sadness” that the section was folding.

Formed in 1927, the branch has raised thousands of pounds for ex-service women and their families.

But Mrs Doy, who is aged 81, said a shrinking membership and the lack of a treasurer meant the group could no longer continue.

“It is very sad, and it will be even sadder when we lay the standard up,” she said. “But we cannot get the youngsters to join and a lot of our members have died recently.

“Over all these years, the women of Southwold and Reydon, past and present, have worked tirelessly to keep to our motto ‘service, not self’.”

She said the group celebrated its 90th anniversary in May last year, and in September the decision was made to close the branch.

However, members agreed to present the women’s section standard for the last time at the Remembrance service in November 2017.

Mrs Doy said she was one of five members who voted to keep the branch open. But seven others voted in favour of its closure.

She said the branch was one of just three women’s sections still operating in Suffolk following the reorganisation of the RBL.

In October 2016 the decision was taken by the armed forces charity to absorb the women’s sections into its ranks, rather than keep it as a separate entity.

“When I first joined there were eight or nine branches in our group and that went down to just one in the end,” Mrs Doy said. “We used to have so many members and the motto for our meetings was ‘fundraising, friendship and fun.”

Mrs Doy, who has been secretary for around 15 years and chairman for around 10, said the monthly meetings, which took place at Southwold town hall, would include a raffle, bingo and a quiz. The group would also host regular events to raise money for the charity.

Mrs Doy said the branch’s president, Mollie Robinson, died around three years ago, aged 99.

She added: “Thank you to all our forbearers and members and the public who have always supported us over all these years.”

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