Page 197 - The Rifles Bugle Autumn 2019
P. 197

  Leeds Branch
The Leeds Branch has again, had a most successful and busy year, in this our tenth year since the Branch was revived, with our members attending various functions and events in support of the Rifles / LI / and KOYLI Associations.
The high moment of our year was the Salamanca Dinner commemoration held at our base at the Village Hotel in Morley and run on behalf of the Trustees. The Branch Committee led by Alan Whitehead organised the event, which was attended by fifty veterans and their ladies. We were fortunate to have Brigadier (Retd) Jim and Jeanie Parker as guests who were visiting from South Africa. It was an exceptional evening, and it clearly demonstrated that the Branch Committee are more than capable and are indeed willing to organise a memorable and high-profile event. A special mention must go to our Treasurer Steve Greenfield who kept a firm grip on our finances.
It has been an exceptionally busy year for one of our staunch members Major (Retd) Dave Wroe. Dave was the mainstay of the KOYLI memorial project. The hard work of Dave and his team finally came to a conclusion when the memorial was unveiled in Doncaster on Minden Day with much ceremony. A great achievement by the team, and very well executed from the outset.
September was also a very busy month, especially so for our number one Standard Bearer Adrian Waites, who paraded the Standard on the Rifles Freedom Parades of Wakefield and Leeds on the 14th and 15th of that month.
October was no less busy, with our motorcycle section attending the Ride To The Wall commemoration in force at the National Memorial Arboretum, for some members this was their tenth year. The riders contribute in no small way in raising almost £150k annually for the RBL and the NMA. Unfortunately, for several years there has been a clash of dates with the KOYLI York Minster service, which means a number of our Branch are unable to attend the service. However, Adrian and Anne Waites represented the Leeds Branch in York yet again, and it is reported that they were treated to a fine lunch.
Later in October, Adrian Waites was on Parade again with the Branch Standard in the Leeds United Football ground, along with other Branches and the Rifles at the start of the Leeds Utd / Notts Forest footy match. The lads got to see the match in premier seats, so that was a bonus.
The 4th of November saw the Branch Standard on Parade, carried again by Adrian at the Festival of Remembrance in Nostell Priory, accompanied by representatives from the Leeds Branch Riders with their machines, along with the Royal British Legion Riders. This is a very special day and is not to be missed.
Remembrance Day saw members of the Branch Parade for a fourth year in Morley, a very appropriate Cenotaph at which to commemorate Remembrance Day, given that one of our fallen comrades David Kirkness, late of the Rifles hails from Morley and is remembered there.
Our end of year Social was held a little later this year on the 24th of November. We were most fortunate to have a live group, in the form of a Showwaddy-Waddy tribute band, who’s front man is none other than X Pte Garry Venables, of D Coy 2LI who served in the early 70s. It was an outstanding evening and frequented by over ninety of our comrades and wives. It was also an opportunity for Dave Jarratt to enquire publicly as to the whereabouts of his Levi Jacket, which he loaned to Pte Venables in 1972 and it was never returned!! Surprising how things come back to haunt you!
The 3rd of March is an important date in the Leeds Branch Calendar, when members of the Branch together with Branch
Leeds Branch
Standards parade at the Birch Services memorial to commem- orate the M62 coach bombing, when in February 1974 the IRA placed a bomb on a bus and murdered 9 off duty soldiers and 3 civilians. A complete family was wiped out. The service is always very well attended by various regiments and associations.
Our spring social was again, exceptionally well organised and run by the Village Hotel staff. Our relationship with them is most productive with the hotel providing us with rooms discounted by £50 per room, and with lashings of good food. Drinks are not exactly cheap, they are high street prices, but taking into consideration that we negotiated the ability to provide our own port, and given the outstanding service that is provided, it is very good value for money. Sadly, no Showwaddy-Waddy this time, and as at writing, Dave has not got his Levi Jacket returned! We did however, have “Quick Silver” of the Buglers Association to entertain us, and joining their ranks this year, was none other than Major David Jarratt, who has taken the trouble to learn to play the Bugle during the last twelve months, inspired by Kev Fawcett, another non-professional Bugler who has learned to play. Dave is not yet CO’s Bugler standard, but he can certainly sound a good call. Dave recons that since he was a major, he should now have the honorary rank of “Bugle Major”!
Attendance at the Light Infantry Reunion in Shrewsbury this year was clearly down a little, given the 50th anniversary celebrations last year, but nevertheless some 30 members of our Branch attended, and a very good time was had by all.
We are now looking forward to the remainder of a busy year, the next date in our diary is the Armed Forces Day in Leeds and Pontefract, when our Standards will be on Parade representing the Leeds Branch.
In summary, our Branch remains strong, with members attending from far and wide, most notably Eddy and Jackie Diamond who travel from Kent, Mrs Bre Dearnaley who attends from Northern Ireland, and also George and Valerie Stephenson, who travel from Andover and never fail to attend a function. Our most distant Branch Member is Padre Ned Kelly, who, after retiring from the Light Infantry moved to New Zealand and was ordained. Although Padre Ned is unable to attend, he pays his annual subscription without fail, and is sent monthly minutes and is kept up to date with Association business.
Our doors are always open to new members and guests. Our monthly meetings are held on the first Tuesday of the month in the Village Hotel in Morley, and our next function is on the 30th of November. It is by no means expected that members must attend meetings, as we appreciate that some have a large distance to travel. However, a warm welcome is guaranteed at our functions to all veterans and their partners.
Cede Nullis

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