A FORMER soldier fears that one of only two remaining Powys clubs of the Royal British Legion (RBL) will be forced to close for good without support from the local community.

David Rawsthorne is afraid the Llandrindod Wells branch of the RBL may disappear within a few years, following others in Powys and across the UK.

David, who joined the Army aged just 16 and served for more than 25 years, has been trying to raise funds for and awareness of the legion in Llandrindod in recent years.

The 48-year-old recently launched a fundraising page to aid with repairing the roof of the legion’s HQ, in Tremont Road, which is leaking and requires new insulation. David and others hope to raise £55,000.


“The total funds we need to raise is about £55,000; we have raised approximately £1,200 so far,” said David, who joined the Royal Welch Fusiliers in 1991, and retired as a sergeant major in 2017.

“If anyone can donate towards our cause then it would be much appreciated. Or if there are local builders that can free up their time to help that would be appreciated as well.

“If local businesses can provide the materials and local builders can donate their time then we can tackle this problem.”

Local RBL branches receive no help from the central organisation, despite the Tremont Road premises being owned by the RBL London. They lease the building on a full maintenance lease which means the club is responsible for all repairs inside and out, including the roof.

David, who served 13 operational tours, including three in Afghanistan, was turned down for help from the RBL in London.

He wants to make the branch more relevant to the whole community, and it now hosts events including an 80s and 90s themed disco this month, plus other musical, sporting and community events.

“I am trying to change the stigma of the RBL and get the younger generation in,” said David, who has been vice chairman of the club for just over a year.

“I’ve been targeting the younger age group and they come too. From age 20 to 50. A lot are between the ages of 28-43.

“A lot of people remember coming to the legion with their fathers etc and don’t want to see the building gone.

“Otherwise, I can see the club closing for good within a couple of years. Once, there was an RBL in near enough every town in the UK. Now, I don’t even know where the nearest one is to Llandrindod.”

The nearest club would likely be Llandovery or even Aberystwyth – with only one other remaining Powys club, in Ystradgynlais. In the past Builth, Rhayader, Newtown, Llanidloes and Talgarth all had actual clubhouses, but they have closed in recent years, even though some still maintain a presence in those communities.

Llandrindod is one of only 24 actual clubs left in Wales – with the RBL website stating there are 617 across the UK. The RBL says there are still over 150 branches in Wales.

“There has been 39 that have closed this year already,” added David.  

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A Royal British Legion spokesperson said: “Royal British Legion clubs are run as separate entities to the Royal British Legion charity.

“The RBL has no responsibility for the management or activities of the clubs, which are run as businesses. The RBL licences the clubs to use its name under conditions which are designed to protect its good name and interests.”

All clubs that bear the legion’s name are independent member societies, affiliated to the RBL but not under direct control.

To find out more about the local RBL fundraiser, visit https://www.gofundme.com/f/donations-to-fix-roof or visit the Llandrindod Wells - Royal British Legion Facebook page for event details.