Royal British Legion branch awarded Freedom of Stafford Borough

A charity that has supported Armed Forces members and their families for a century has been awarded the Freedom of the Borough of Stafford.

Presentation of the Freedom Scroll to Royal British Legion Stafford Branch Chairman George Wright by Stafford Mayor Tony Nixon. Photo: Paul Milgate-Scarrott
Presentation of the Freedom Scroll to Royal British Legion Stafford Branch Chairman George Wright by Stafford Mayor Tony Nixon. Photo: Paul Milgate-Scarrott

The Royal British Legion’s Stafford Branch was formed in 1921, just a few months after the national charity came into being to support those affected by the First World War.

One hundred years later the Stafford branch’s work has been commemorated with an honour given to those who give eminent services to the borough.

On Tuesday the Freedom Scroll was presented to the branch at the start of Stafford Borough Council’s full meeting. Several branch members were welcomed to the main chamber at County Buildings for the occasion.

Council leader Patrick Farrington said: "It is an incredible honour to have you here and it is our first meeting in this council chamber in many months.

"How truly wonderful it is to be giving the Freedom of Stafford Borough.

"Amongst other things it means you can drive sheep and cattle through the streets of Stafford, so you better get rounding them up.

"The Royal British Legion has a long and valued history here in Stafford. It was established in 1921.

"The founder members probably couldn’t have imagined that 100 years later here we are in the centennial year, celebrating all the work the British Legion has given to communities, not just in this country but worldwide.

"Over the last year the Royal British Legion in this country has undertaken around 300,000 welfare and friendship visits to former colleagues, veterans and their families.

"It was established in 1921 with that in mind, to look after and help those who suffered as a result of service after the First World War, helping the whole of the Armed Forces community."

Members of Royal British Legion Stafford Branch with Stafford Borough Councillors and council chief executive Tiim Clegg. Photo: Paul Milgate-Scarrott

Opposition group leader Councillor Aidan Godfrey said: "I would like to echo the words of the leader of the council.

"It’s time this happened and it’s an appropriate time, being the 100th anniversary.

"Congratulations to the Royal British Legion and thanks for all the work they do."

Branch chairman George Wright signed the Freedom Scroll at Tuesday’s meeting.

And Reverend John Davies, Stafford Branch Chaplain, spoke on behalf of the group at the presentation.

He said: "The British Legion came into being in April 1921.

"Several charities had been created during the First World War and after, to offer financial and emotional support and comradeship to those who had served and families of those who gave their lives in the war.

"They came together in London at the base of the Cenotaph and signed the declaration creating this one national charity that eventually became the Royal British Legion.

"In July 1921 the Stafford branch of the British Legion became an entity in its own right.

"For the past 100 years the Royal British Legion has provided financial and emotional support to serving and ex-service members of the Armed Forces and their families.

"In granting the branch the freedom of this borough you are recognising the work undertaken by former members, current members and indeed future members, because the need for the support our Royal British Legion gives to the Armed Forces community does not diminish, it grows.

"The support the Royal British Legion gives is increasingly more complex than it has been.

"It is a great honour you have bestowed on us and we will accept that insignia with great pride."

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