I’m not going to beat around the bush here – this is a very important issue that I’ve been vocal about for some time, and this year it’s coming to a head.
Following cuts in local policing budgets and the lack of willing on the part of West Midlands Police, local Remembrance Parades are under threat as the organisers now have to pay for private traffic management contractors to marshal their events.
I have commented on this before: my anger at the police in particular over the matter has not subsided in the last 18 months.
Although Walsall Council has stepped in to help this year, the amount offered will still only cover 30% of the cost needed in Brownhills.
To that end, I note from local poet Ian Neville that John Bird and the Brownhills Branch of the Royal British Legion have been staging an appeal for new members – and help too, if possible – in the Walsall Advertiser this week (2nd March 2017).
I’m running the Advertiser report here and would ask that anyone who can help please call John Bird on 01543 452238 or comment on this post or mail me – BrownhillsBob at Googlemail dot com.
Without the help of the community, the 2017 Parade will not happen, and it would be good to see the RBL membership locally increase, too.
Thanks to Ian for the tipoff, and please don’t hesitate to help in any way you can.
The Walsall Advertiser wrote:
Urgent plea as Remembrance parade faces a funding threat
By Dan Newbould
VOLUNTEERS and financial contributions are urgently needed to make sure a Remembrance Sunday parade in Walsall takes place this year.
Due to a lack of funding and police withdrawing the support they previously offered, organisers of this year’s services are struggling to make arrangements.
Walsall Council has agreed to contribute 30 per cent of traffic management costs which means that organisers have to find the other 70 per cent plus any extra.
And with only 19 members the Brownhills branch of the Royal British Legion is struggling. Chairman John Bird, aged 78, has issued a plea for help to ensure the service can continue this year.
He said: ‘I have a serious matter regarding the future of our Remembrance Sunday parade. It has been announced that all branches are now responsible for organising their own parades as the police and the council will no longer provide all of the traffic management.
‘As it is the Royal British Legion’s role to raise funds only for the benefit of ex-service personnel and not to fund parades you can see the predicament that we will have.
‘May I, therefore, appeal to any local business or group to consider if they are able to make a contribution to ensure that the Remembrance Sunday parade continues so that we can not only continue to pay tribute to the efforts of our armed forces but also to encourage the younger generation to ensure the future of this annual event.”
‘We only have 19 members and only seem to get a maximum of 10 people per monthly meeting. I appreciate this is a local thing and we can’t expect too much but we have lost a few members recently and I am starting to worry.’
John added that he would appeal to all of those ex-service personnel in the Brownhills area to consider joining members during monthly meetings to recall ‘old times’.
To support the Brownhills branch of the Royal British Legion call John on 01543 452238.