Busy time at local British Legion

THE DISMAL summer weather did little to dampen the spirits of the Arbroath branch of the Royal British Legion Scotland and for the last two months the club has had a steady stream of visitors as well as a busy sporting programme.

Arbroath successes included: July 23 - the pools singles winner was Alex Whyte; July 24 - The Charlie Dyer Bowls competition played at the Abbey, was won by the Legion; August 14 - The Green Bowls Final winning team was Dave and Morag Mann and Lennie and Davina Greggor; August 21 - The bowls competition at the Lochlands was won by the Legion; August 28 - The RBLS 90th Anniversary Texas Scramble at Glen Isla golf course was won by Arbroath and the winning team was made up of Scott Arbuthnot, Alan Mowatt, David Reid and Brian Napier

Unfortunately for a club that has its home in a fishing town on the East coast of Scotland, Arbroath was beaten twice by Blairgowrie, a landlocked club, at the loch and sea fishing competitions. Congratulations to Kenny Macpherson and his team for organising the events and for all members who participated in the various events and in particular for winning the RBLS 90th anniversary golfing competition.

Club manager Scott Berrie has been pleased with the new air conditioning unit in the games room and someone even asked for the heating to be turned up as it was getting too cold.

Veterans Night tickets are on sale behind the bar and it promises to be a top evening. Tickets will also be on sale for the Dundee Fiddle Orchestra, which is generating a lot of interest.

Pool continues to be very popular and to keep the skill levels up the club is getting two new pool tables installed which will be just in time for the new season which starts on September 28. For those who fancy their chances on the ‘one arm bandits’, or what the Aussies call ‘pogey machines’, a new one has been installed in the games room.

Branch secretary Colin Macdonald hinted at being satisfied with the number of members but although there are 78 new members there are still a considerable number who have yet to pay their fees. Despite the hardship imposed by the 20 per cent VAT, the branch will not be increasing the fees, which will remain between £10 and £12 for the varying types of membership.

The fees give good value for money and the committee is always looking at improving the facilities in the club for the benefit of its members. With Christmas just around the corner, the clubrooms committee is gearing up for big raffle prizes at the Christmas Dance. Tickets are available behind the bar if you have not already been cornered by a committee member to buy a book or two! Next year’s fees will be due on October 31.

As ever, members of the Women’s Section have been busy providing catering for bus parties, weddings, funerals and general functions. They provide an incredible service and are like industrious worker ants who at the end of the year generously donate a considerable amount to various charities.

Another important group to the branch is the Pipe Band which has had a reasonably successful season. They played at the World Pipe Band Championship and at the Cowal Games and although they did not win any trophies, both competitions were an invaluable experience for the younger members.

They finished off the season with a creditable second at the Pitlochry Highland Games. Congratulations go to Pipe Major Stephen Russell who composed a superb 6/8 March for the 200 year anniversary of the Bell Rock Lighthouse, called ‘The Year of the Light’.

He agreed to play the March out on the open sea at the Bell Rock Lighthouse. The Girl Katherine 2 took a party out to the lighthouse and the poor weather that was forecasted would have made playing difficult for him and would have put him between the devil and the deep blue sea.

Seafarers will know that the seam in the deck planking closest to the side was known as ‘the devil’ and if a sailor slipped on the deck he could find himself “between the devil and the deep blue sea”. Fortunately the weather remained fair and he did not trip and was able to play his pipes. For all those who were present, it was a fitting and moving occasion.

Finally, Poppy Week and Remembrance Sunday are just under two months away. The primary schools of Arbroath have been invited to enter the Poppy Week Poster and Christmas Card competition and confirmation has been received from all the schools that they will be competing.

Each year the standards get higher and the number of entrants increases. This year the branch is expecting an excellent turnout with the winning posters being displayed in the clubrooms for everyone to see. The winning Christmas card will be copied and sold by the club for local charities.

Paddy Quinlan

Branch chairman