30th Jan 2022 Today the branch held its AGM in Caol Commnity Center with 15 members attending whilst it was great to get back to face to face meetings the branch needs members to attend those meetings so please do attend when you can and thank you for your continued support in other ways.
Some of the items discussed included branch comradeship and one of the ways that the committee feels a way to progress this is for members to start meeting on a saturday or Sunday once every month and go for a leisurely walk the 1st of those will be on the Sat 26 Feb 2022 at 1100hrs near the swimming pool car park (there will be different areas for different walks around Lochaber) then it will be a walk along the Cow Hill path to brave Heart carpark proceeding towards the youth hostel crossing the bridge and returning down the side of the river Nevis returning to the start point. This will give members a chance to reintegrate with each other as the last 23 months have been so negative due to the pandemic I do hope that a few of you turn up and support this initiative and also get the benefits of a regular small outing.
Some of the changes in the committee is that David Brady has stepped down as Welfare co-ordinator due to concentrating on other family issues However Susan MacInnes will be taking on this role and David will not be too far away to give assistance and guidance if neccessary. Additional co-opted members are Frances Purden and Norman Bell welcome to the Committee
Regrettably we are still being restricted in what we can do as a Branch due to the current Covid-19 rules; but Gaynor and Tony managed to host a very successful Easter Egg raffle for us and raised £190 towards the Branch Funds.
Along side the easter raffle there was a virtual egg colouring competion for young people and the Easter egg hunt over on our facebook page.
The young folk done very well with their entries and we would like to thank them for their involvment.
The obscure locations thought up by Gaynor and Tony for the easter egg hunt was well thought out and not too easy so well done to all for taking part in that also
Other than that we would like to wish all members a very happy Easter and hope that the Easter Bunny is kind to everyone.
Service Not Self
With the ongoing events of Covid19 How pleasing it is to see so much getting done. From prescriptions, shopping, phonecalls, and with the technology availble in this day even real time face to face meetings with the committee and members regurarly keeping in touch through the internet. With so much getting done to try and make sure that all our veterans are able to maintain a safer living during this lockdown, We must say a massive thanks to everyone who has been donating food and with packaging items to allow as safe as possible means of delivery.
INVERNESS MARATHON MARCH 2020
On Sunday 8th March members of the branch gathered in Inverness to assist Martin Glenesk in his attempt to compete in the Inverness 5k Challenge. To enable him to do this Maria Devey; Jeanette Lane; Shona Macinnes; Susan Macinnes and Gaynor Weldon stepped forward to push his wheelchair around the course.
Also competing in the wheelchair class was Stuart Gallacher who propelled himself in a fantastic time of just over nineteen minutes. Plus, at the age of 74, Bruce James ran the 5k course.
Tony Weldon, who has done this race before, entered the half marathon and completed it in 2hrs and 40 minutes. He admitted that this was not his best time and wondered if it was time to hang up his trainers?
Everyone from the branch thoroughly enjoyed the event and the cheers and applause from the crowd as Martin and the ladies entered the arena with the Legion Scotland flag flying were amazing.
They completed their lap of the stadium with Martin getting out of his wheelchair and walking across the finish line with the public address system telling the crowd what this challenge was all about and reminding everyone what a fantastic job the Legion does for veterans.
Other than the personal sense of achievement that all had, the event raised £180 in sponsorship through a “Just Giving” page.
FORT WILLIAM WAR MEMORIAL PROJECT
As a Branch, we are currently trying to raise funds to allow us to purchase two memorial benches that will be installed adjacent to the Fort William War Memorial. The aim being to provide somewhere that people can quietly sit and reflect on those who paid the ultimate sacrifice in the service of their country.
The first bench will be semi circular in design and will pay homage to those who fell during WW1 (see picture left). The second bench will be oblong in design and will pay homage to those who fell during WW2 (see picture below right).
The total cost for both benches is £2200.00 which we hope to raise through a combination of grants and sponsorship but we have a long way to go.
Therefore, if you would like to make a donation to this project you may do so by simply sending a cheque made payeable to: FORT WILLIAM & DISTRICT BRANCH RBLS to our Secretary at Fort William & District Branch RBLS, Rock Cottage, 2 Stronaba, Spean Bridge, PH34 4DX.
WHITE WATER RAFTING COMRADESHIP EVENT
On Saturday 07 July the Branch held a Comradeship Event that was based upon a white water rafting experience. The event was funded by donations from: RBLS HQ; H&I Area; the Branch and personnal contributions. Over 30 people attended the event and the staff of Active High must have wondered what they were in for when a coach full of pirates decended upon them.
After some initial trepidation, all agreed that it had been an incredible experience that they would not have wanted to miss.
Miraculously not a single member fell into the river, although one or two came perilously close to doing so and many swallowed more of the river Garry than they had wanted to.
Although this event may not appeal to everyone, our group consisted of one member in his 70's and a family member under twelve. Two of our less able members also participated and both agreed that this experience had been a great tonic for them.
It was good to see that by the start of the second run all of the initial nerves had gone and much high jynx ensued on the way down the river.
James Porter is to be congratulated for organising, what was without a doubt a superb event, as do the staff of Active High whose professionalism and skill was a pleasure to see.
BIG BLIND WALK 2018
Today, Mon 11 Jun 2018, members of the Branch assisted Julian Jackson in his quest to walk from Lands End to John O'Groats in order to raise awareness, and promote, the wonders of eye research. This is an incredible feat given that Julian himself is blind and we were honoured to do what we could to guide him through Fort William and along the Great Glen Way to South Laggan.
The chosen route took in: the Soldiers Bridge across the River Lochy; Neptunes Staircase on the Caledonian Canal; along the Tow Path to Gairlochy; then past Achnacarry and on to Clunes. The final leg was from Clunes to the Lock at South Laggan and ended at the South Laggan Swing Bridge.
A big thank you has to go to Bruce James who acted as Julian's guide from Fort William to Clunes and to Tony Weldon who acted as the guide from Clunes to South Laggan and also completed the entire 21 mile distance.
We all wish Julian well and may he have favourable winds and calm seas for his onward journey.
Anyone who wishes to know more about Julian and his quest can do so by visiting his website at: https://bigblindwalk.com/
GENERAL DATA PROTECTION REGULATION (GDPR)
On the 25th May 2018, new legislation regarding data protection, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), comes into effect in all countries of the European Union (EU). The GDPR defines how companies and organisations have to handle the personal data and the privacy of individuals within the EU from now on.
At the Fort William & District Branch RBLS, we only collect the minimum amount of data required to fulfil our need to maintain an up to date membership database in order that we can manage your membership and keep you informed of matters concerning the Branch/RBLS.
We never sell or trade any of your personal data; but we do pass your data on to RBLS HQ. This is done to enable them to maintain a master membership database of the whole of the RBLS in order to meet the requirements of the RBLS SCIO and to ensure that you receive your personal copy of the “Legion Scotland Today” magazine.
More information on the GDPR may be found on the UK Government website at:
What information do we collect about you?
We collect personal information about you when you apply for membership of the RBLS.
The information we collect for our membership database is as follows:
*Only for those who have served.
The additional information that we hold about you is as follows:
· Branch Badge/Membership Number
· Membership Year
· Type of Membership
· Capitation Rate
· Method of Capitation Payment
· RBLS Membership Card Number
· Committee Position (if held)
How will we use the information about you?
We collect information about you to enable us to maintain our membership database in order that we can contact you to keep you informed about branch and RBLS matters.
We will not share your information for marketing purposes with outside companies or agencies; but we do share your information internally with RBLS HQ so that they can maintain a master membership database of the whole of the RBLS, in order to meet the requirements of the RBLS SCIO and to ensure that you receive your personal copy of the “Legion Scotland Today” magazine.
Access to your information and correction
You have the right to request a copy of the information that we hold about you. If you would like a copy of some or all of your personal information, please contact the Branch Secretary.
We want to ensure that your personal information is accurate and up to date. You may ask us to correct or remove information you think is inaccurate.
Cookies are text files placed on your computer to collect standard internet log information and visitor behaviour information. On our branch website, this information is used to track visitor use of the website and to compile statistical reports on website activity.
You can set your browser not to accept cookies and the above websites tell you how to remove cookies from your browser. However in a few cases some of our website features may not function as a result.
Deletion of your personal data
You have a right to have deleted any information that we hold about you but to do so may restrict our ability to manage your membership effectively and to keep you informed of branch and RBLS matters. However, for archive purposes certain data will be retained by us.
To have personal information deleted you should contact the Branch Secretary.
How to contact us
The Branch Secretary may be contacted by e-mail at: firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at: 01397 713959.
Branch Christmas Party 16 December 2017
The Branch Christmas Party was held at the Ben Nevis Hotel on Saturday 16 December 2017 with a total of 61 Members, Family & Friends sitting down to dinner. We were also honoured to have our National Chairman Charlie Brown and his wife,
plus our CEO Kevin Gray and his wife joining us.
As usual the meal was excellent and was praised by several members; entertainment was provided by "Mardi Gras Music" and many people took the opportunity to get up and shake a leg especially for the Conga and Strip the Willow.
The raffle was well supported and we must thank everyone who so generously donated prizes for it. Well done to all that won a prize and commiserations to those that didn't.
A great start to the festive season and hopefully we can all look forward to it being repeated in 2018, watch this space.
For more images of the party visit the Photo Gallery.
Visit to Fort George 12 August 2017
On Saturday 12th August 2017 eight members of the branch visited the "Amazing Ages" event that was held at Fort George. The event had a variety of living displays and re-enactments covering all periods of Scottish history from Medieval; Renaissance; Jacobite and Edwardian eras plus displays from the Roman; Pict; Viking; Napoleonic and WW1 & WW2 periods.
During the visit members also took the opportunity to visit the Highlanders museum which was highly enlightening and brought to life by our tour guide Dave.
All agreed it had been an enjoyable day and that once again it had been good for members to get together in this manner. However, for many, the day was truly rounded off by being able to observe the Dolphins swimming off the point of the fort.
For more images visit the Photo Gallery.
Tribute to the Revd David Railton MC MA
In order to mark the 62nd anniversary of the death of the Revd David Railton MC MA, members of the Fort William & District Branch of the Royal British Legion Scotland gathered at St Brides Church, Onich, North Ballachulish on Saturday 10 June 2017 for a memorial service.
The name of Revd David will not instantly mean a lot to many people until it is pointed out that it was he that thought of the idea of having a Tomb for an Unknown Warrior in Westminster Abbey that could be used to recognise the sacrifice of all those who died and were buried as unknown during the First World War; and so, on the anniversary of his death it was only right and fitting that we pay homage to him.
The event was organised by Bruce James and 12 Branch Members were present; our ranks were swollen by Kevin Gray, the CEO of Legion Scotland, and his wife; plus Major Janet McIntyre and Margaret Rae from the Salvation Army in Kinlochleven. Their presence was particularly poignant as David Railton’s father had been the Second in Command to William Booth who founded the Salvation Army.
For the memorial service all parties formed up in front of the grave and after a brief introduction from Kevin Lane, the Branch Chairman, Binions Lines were read out. Piper John MacCallum then played a lament during which the Branch Standard, carried by Drew Walker-Armitage, was lowered in homage. After a two minute silence a second lament was played; followed by Kevin Lane laying a wreath on behalf of the Branch. The Revd Malcolm Kinnear then led the Branch in the service of remembrance and prayers during which Bruce James read out a eulogy to David Railton.
The service ended with everyone visiting the inside of St Brides Church and then retiring to the Loch Leven Hotel for lunch.
All agreed that this had been a fitting tribute to a great man and that we must now perpetuate his memory so that he is not left forgotten again.
Preparation for the 2017 Best Kept War Memorial Competition
Today, Saturday 21 May, members of the branch turned out in order to clean the Fort William War Memorial in preparation for the RBLS 2017 Best Kept Competition. In the H&I Area Competition the memorial has won best in its category for the last two years but has always been marked down in the National Competition due to mildew on the statue itself. It was therefore decided that because it was three years since it was last cleaned that this year we would do it.
David Brady volunteered to head the project and after meetings with the Council Works Department and the Fort William Town Team a plan was put forward that met all the necessary health and safety requirements and was therefore acceptable to all concerned for us to carry out the work.
The task took 3 hours to complete but could not have been achieved without the willing support of all those who turned out on the day.
Special thanks must go to Campbell Plant Hire for the loan of the Elevated Work Platform (EWP), the Garden Stop for their very kind donation of white chipped granite stones to the Town Team for the work that they will now complete on the floral displays, to Dean Kennedy and his work party for the loan of the pressure washer and Callum Ross, who is not a branch member, but freely gave of his time to support us and who operated the EWP and physically cleaned the statue.
The memorial now looks magnificent and further plans are being made to improve it even further.
Well done to all concerned! (Further photos can be seen in the Photo Gallery)
AR Henderson Trophy
Oh we've done it again! Yet again the branch has been selected as being the most progressive branch without a club in the H&I Area and this has been recognised by us being awarded the AR Henderson Trophy for the sixth time.
This is a great accolade for the branch and justly reflects all of the effort put in by people over the last year. You know who you are so well done to all of you.
The photo shows Hugh Macinnes receiving the Trophy and Certificate from Eric Munroe the H&I Area President.
Bag Packing in Morrisson's
On Saturday 18th March 2017 the Branch was allowed to hold a bag packing fund raising event in Morrisson's store in Fort William. There was a good turnout from the Branch members who quickly got into the swing of things as the store became busier throughout the day.
Through the cheerful dedication of those attending, and the generosity of the people of Lochaber, we were able to raise the sum of £1280.80 which goes a long way to enabling us to meet the target that we need in order to continue our work supporting veterans.
Many thanks to all who were able to help out and a special thank you to Morrisson's for allowing us in to do this ( more photos of the event have been uploaded to the Photo Gallery).
Payment of Capitation Fees by Standing Order
The number of members wishing to pay their Capitation fees by Standing Order continues to grow.
Those that are using the scheme are already seeing the benefits in that they no longer have to find a member of the committee to pay their fees to and we do not have to chase people for their dues.
Our bank statements now clearly show the name or the code for each member that has paid and once this has been seen we simply fill out the Capitation Receipt and send it to the member concerned. However, don't just take our word for it, speak to a member who is in the scheme and they will confirm this for you.
All new members are now asked to use this system but any existing member who now wishes to join the scheme can still do so by informing a member of the Committee, and we will then send a form for you to complete and return.
Once a form has been received the details will be checked, it will be allocated a unique code for that member (this code will appear on our Bank Statement so that we know who the payment is from) and will then be sent on to the members bank so that the Standing Order can be set up.