Debden branch presented with two prestigious Essex County Royal British Legion awards

Outgoing president of Essex County RBL, Malcolm Ratcliffe, presenting chairman of the Debden RBL bra

Outgoing president of Essex County RBL, Malcolm Ratcliffe, presenting chairman of the Debden RBL branch Roger Burgess with the Toby Brace Trophy and certificate. - Credit: Archant

An active and expanding branch of the Royal British Legion has scooped two prestigious awards for the first time in its history.

Debden RBL has bucked the national trend of flagging numbers and branch closures, swelling its ranks from 23 members to 73 – the greatest percentage increase in membership of any Essex branch in the period September 30, 2012 to September 30, 2013. That saw it awarded the Nigel Bird Trophy at the annual Essex County Royal British Legion Conference, held at the Marconi Sports & Social Centre in Chelmsford on Saturday.

And, in a double celebration, Debden was also given the Toby Brace Trophy, awarded to the runner-up small branch which demonstrated the most improved efficiency over the last 12 months.

Debden is a signatory to the Community Covenant with the Royal Engineer Garrison at Carver Barracks and maintains close links with the units based there. It is aslo affiliated to 1824 (Saffron Walden) Squadron ATC and Debden Primary School.

Fourteen of its members have been presented with RBL Awards during the last 12 months, while the branch’s annual Poppy Appeal raised over £1,500 in November, another increase for the fourth consecutive year.

Branch chairman, Col (Retd) Roger Burgess, said: “In all our activities in 2013 we have made a conscious effort to adhere to the four piillars of the Royal British Legion: Remembrance, Welfare, Representation and Comradeship. In doing so we have managed to raise the profile of the branch locally and attract new members. This is a massive achievement.”

Debden now eagerly waits to see if it has qualified for the Jellicoe Cup, the RBL national award for the small branch with the most increased membership throughout the last year.