Members of Royal British Legion Women’s Sections from all over Mid Sussex gathered at The Old School last month to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the Cuckfield Branch.
Guests included Denise Carr, County Chairman, Mary Reed, County Treasurer, and members of the Women’s Sections from East Grinstead, Horsted Keynes, Lindfield, Lowfield Heath, Burgess Hill and Clayton and Keymer.
The group enjoyed tea and cake, and several members were presented with branch and county certificates of appreciation. All those who attended the celebrations received a commemorative bookmark.
The guests also enjoyed hearing Cuckfield member Evelyn Stenning give her account of the history and achievements of the branch over the last 70 years. Many thanks to Evelyn for providing us with information for the following account.
Cuckfield Royal British Legion Women’s Section started on 5th February 1945 when 21 ladies attended an inaugural, meeting at the Congregational Church Hall. By the time of the first meeting on 23rd February, 62 people had paid their subscriptions. Sadly all the founder members have since died, leaving the longest standing member as Tina Owen, vice-president, who joined in 1948.
The first Branch Standard was donated by Mrs Mowatt-Giles in memory of her husband and to thank the Royal British Legion members for their support. The Standard was dedicated on 3rd June 1945, when Standard bearer Mrs Humphrey escorted Mrs Howard and Mrs Mckenna, were joined by 18 other Branch Standard and representatives from 21 branches, to march from the Queen’s Hall to the church.
By the end of the first year the branch had more than 200 members.
Meetings, held on the 4th Friday of each month, have been held in various village locations including the Congregational Hall, WI room in Ockenden Lane and the parish room/church hall until 1994.
When the old school became vacant, following the building of the new primary school in Glebe Road, the branch moved its meetings to the new community hall.
Read full story on pages 12/13.