Changing of the guard at Saddleworth’s Royal British Legion

A NEW broom has swept into the Saddleworth Branch of The Royal British Legion after its chairman and secretary retired – the latter after three decades of service.

Uppermill’s Joseph Hughes, who served in the Royal Hussars has been actively involved for more than 30 years and still sells poppies annually, will now sit as the president – an honorary role recognising his long service.

Astonishingly, that is longer than the branch’s incoming president, Max Woodvine, has been alive!

Following the retirement of Diggle-based veteran Patrick ‘Paddy’ Diamond, the 22-year-old, who formerly worked for The Royal British Legion as a membership support officer, was named its youngest head as it approaches its centenary.

image credit: Jackie Clowes

Max, who is also an Oldham borough councillor for Saddleworth South, said: “I am very proud to have been chosen to be the chairman.

“I have been involved in volunteering with The Legion for a few years and want to see our Saddleworth Branch go from strength to strength.

“We thank Paddy for his service over the last decade and we look forward to celebrating our centenary in 2024.

“Though we do not all serve, most of us have relatives who have done so. I am particularly proud of my great-grandfathers, from that greatest generation, who served in WW2 on campaigns in Africa in the Royal Pioneer Corps and in the Fire Brigade responding to the bombings and blitz of Manchester.

“Remembering the sacrifice of our Armed Forces community is something we all have a duty to do.

“It is our role to ensure their memory lives on forever and civilian volunteers have ensured the continued existence of Remembrance and commemorative events in our area.

“Veterans, serving personnel, and any supporters of our Armed Forces living in Saddleworth are welcome to join our Branch.”

The procedural rules of the RBL, which are written in the membership management handbook, state the president should be somebody of ‘important standing’ in the community.

And the Saddleworth Branch decided Joe, who also served St. Paul’s Ward as a councillor from 1982 until 1986, fits the bill to be theirs.

Saddleworth’s RBL also appointed its other officers, with Alison Clowes – who also acts as Saddleworth’s Poppy Appeal organiser and will be the standard bearer – remaining vice chairman.

Jackie Clowes and Lindsay McNally will be the branch’s treasurer and secretary respectively. Then Rev Ken McNally is its chaplain.

It enjoys an affiliation with 2200 Squadron Air Training Corps and several of the Cadets will share the responsibilities of standard bearing.

The 2021 Census confirmed there are 957 veterans living in Saddleworth and Lees who have previously served in the Armed Forces as Regulars and/or Reservists.

The Branch meets monthly at Uppermill Conservative Club. If you would like to become a member you can do so by clicking www.britishlegion.org.uk/get-involved/things-to-do/membership/become-a-member.

If you would like to volunteer or be involved in the branch please write to Saddleworth.Chairman@RBL.Community.

One Reply to “Changing of the guard at Saddleworth’s Royal British Legion”

  1. One of least obnoxious and mercenary of the major charities and one of the very few that I still make an occasional donation to.

    I think that will most likely be a useful and productive role for Cllr Woodvine and well done to him for taking on those responsibilities.

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