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Poppy week 'snub' - from a Royal British Legion club; Members to vote to end link with charity.

Byline: By EMMA DAVISON News Reporter

A WAR of words has broken out between a Huddersfield club and the Royal British Legion - on the eve of Remembrance Sunday.

And as millions prepare to remember those who gave their lives, officials of Golcar Royal British Legion Club have been labelled as "disgraceful" by the Legion, which helps ex-service personnel and their families.

Club members are to meet nextweek to decide whether or not to end their affiliation to the charity. Their pounds 12 membership fees to the Scar Lane club go direct to the Legion and club officials claim they need help to keep open.

But now a row has broken out between the club's secretary and the Legion's West Yorkshire president following news of the special meeting.

Next Friday, a special members meeting has been organised at Golcar, where members will take a vote on whether they want to disaffiliate the club from the charity, which has its headquarters in Pall Mall.

The Examiner has learned that the club is struggling financially and because all membership fees are given to the Legion, there is nothing left to helprun the premises.

Club secretary David Jakeman wants the building to become a social club in a bid to get more funding and attract younger members.

But the Legion's county president Bob Mortimer branded the move appalling as he believes it would withdraw vital funds relied on by the men and women who have fought for and are still fighting for our country.

He said: "I think it's disgraceful.

There are 10.5m people receiving help from the Royal British Legion and the number is growing all the time.

"Last year the Legion needed pounds 80m to spend on welfare. It relies on the public to raise money through the likes of the Poppy Appeal, but a bulk of its funding also comes from branch and club members.

"By disaffiliating itself with the Legion, the club is withdrawing money from the many ex service and current service personnel that need it. It's not a good move to take away members' contributions from those that have given their lives to fighting for their country."

If members vote in favour of the move to disaffiliate the club from the charity, the club would be stripped of its Royal British Legion title and members will no longer have to pay their annual subscription fees to the charity's headquarters.

For the move to go ahead, 75% of members' votes must be in favour of it.

Mr Jakeman said that the club's committee decided to hold the vote in a bid to raise more income for the ailing club.

The club relies on barprof its and event s for income.

"In the last year profits have plunged and the club is falling far short of generating the pounds 5,000 a week it needs to keep running. If a solution isn't found fast, the club will be forced to close."

Mr Jakeman said: "We cannot afford to run the club with the legion because of the high subscriptions, which all goes to Pall Mall.

"This means we are not making the money we need to stay afloat and if the situation continues we will be forced to close- what we are doing is about the survival of the club.

"All or our members have to pay a fee to the legion, but of our 574 members only 135 are ex-service and probably only 50 of them use the club regularly.

"If we disaffiliate and become a social club then we would be able to charge a smaller fee which would help run the club.

CAPTION(S):

CONFLICT: Golcar Royal British Legion Club, Scar Lane, and (below) the Legion's county president Bob Mortimer (JH031108Dgolcar-02)
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Publication:Huddersfield Daily Examiner (Huddersfield, England)
Date:Nov 7, 2008
Words:625
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