New standard flies high for Saddleworth RBL

A NEW standard is flying high for the Saddleworth Branch of the Royal British Legion after being officially blessed and marched out.

A service was held at the Church of St Chad Saddleworth to lay up the old branch standard and bless the new one.

Reverend Canon Sharon Jones led the service in the presence of RBL members and special guests including the Mayor of Oldham Cllr Elaine Garry, Saddleworth Parish Council chairman Cllr Pam Byrne, and Glyn Potts, Deputy Lieutenant for Greater Manchester.

RBL Standard service

The service began with a Processional March before hymns and prayers and then the old standard was marched in by Cadet Cpl Brandon Laban (2200 Oldham Sqn RAFAC).

Paddy Diamond, chairman of the Saddleworth RBL branch, committed the standard to Rev Canon Jones for safe keeping in the church.

She blessed both the old standard and the new one, which was brought in by the branch’s standard bearer Alison Clowes escorted by Cadet Sgt James Barnes and Cadet Harvey Mills (2200 Oldham Sqn RAFAC).

A two-minute silence was held, accompanied either side by a bugler playing the Last Post and the Reveille, to remember and honour those all around the world who have fallen.

Addressing the gathering, Reverend Ken McNally reflected on the importance of the RBL, which was formed in 1921, and supports the armed forces community nationwide.

Its members, volunteers, partners and charities offer advice, guidance and support for ex-serviceman as they return to civilian life, and also for their families.

Rev McNally proudly wore his territorial army medals for long service over 10 years, and showed medals earned by grandfather, who fought in early battles in World War I.

He was wounded, taken prisoner and survived, later joining the police and serving during World War II, which Rev McNally said was possible due to the help of the RBL and other organisations.

The new standard was marched out of the church and the old one will remain there, not to be removed for any purpose.

Music for the occasion was provided by players from Uppermill and Diggle Brass Bands, and thanks go to The Cross Keys for their hospitality after the service.

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