Legion starts renovation work

THE ROYSTON Branch of the Royal British Legion has confirmed that work has started on renovating its 100-year-old premises – and its all thanks to a former member.

This week, contractors began working on the Mill Road headquarters, after the �25,000 needed came from the charity of former member Brian Leslie Racher.

Mr Racher, who died of cancer in 2004, was a resident of Royston and former welfare officer of the legion. His charity, the Brian Leslie Racher Trust, have contributed the funding required to begin work on the building.

Chris Murphy, the branch’s chairman of trustees, said: “We approached the trust and they luckily looked favourably upon the legion. My thanks go out to them for it.

“This money will allow phase one of the structural works to be completed, which will get the main hall up and running again.

“The hall is used for various groups every week, and they have had nowhere to use for the last six months. These groups are a main source of income for the legion, so we can start recovering our losses.”

Mr Murphy confirmed that funds still need to be raised to start phase two of the renovation, which involves overhauling the entire premises.

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“We already have a further �7,000 which was raised from other avenues, but we need another �25,000 to �30,000 to begin phase two.

“If you take the toilets, the kitchen and the offices, they all need re-doing, which hopefully will mean we are about for many more years to come,” he said.

The first phase of the renovations are expected to be finished in time for the most important day of the legion’s year – remembrance Sunday.

“I anticipate that it will be done and dusted for remembrance Sunday, which has been my focus. It has always been a big event in the town and the event starts and finishes with us.

“Its out time of year to show what the legion is all about, which is not only supporting world war one and two veterans, but those coming back from Afghanistan and Iraq.”

Royston town mayor Cllr Martin Beaver, who has the legion as one of his charities this year, said: “I’m delighted that we have the money we need to start the renovation for the building and we must keep working hard to get the rest that we need.”