Royal British Legion branch to be made homeless by bank closure

Lewis Whittaker pictured in 2011
Lewis Whittaker pictured in 2011

Steyning’s branch of the Royal British Legion is urgently seeking a new base after the town’s Lloyds Bank announced its closure.

The branch of the armed forces charity has been based at the High Street bank in recent years, and this year raised £11,000 through its well-supported Poppy Appeal.

But the charity needs to find a new home as soon as possible due to the closure of the bank, reported in the County Times on December 3.

Lewis Whittaker, chairman of the Royal British Legion Steyning and District branch, said: “We are very concerned that we don’t know where we are going to put the Poppy Appeal stuff. We need to find somewhere pronto.”

Mr Whittaker also hailed the support of people in Steyning over a long period of time, and stressed the need for the RBL to have a visible presence in the town.

The group has been active in the town for decades, and collected a whopping £33,000 from the community for a project to refurbish the memorial garden in 2011.

Now they need to find a dry storage space to house their equipment.

Mr Whittaker said: “We have been asked to move all of our material from the bank as soon as possible, therefore the immediate problem is finding a small, dry, storage space, initially for the short term.

“The Poppy Appeal attracts a marvellous amount of support from the local community in and around Steyning and it would be a terrible shame if this very traditional and wonderful illustration of community spirit were to be discontinued in our lovely village.”

He added that Lynda, a member of staff at the bank, had been helpful in sorting out poppy trays and counting money following the collections.

The bank will be closing in April 2016. Earlier this month, a spokesperson for Lloyds noted that the Steyning branch was 11 per cent quieter than a year ago.

Mr Whittaker called on the community to contact the branch if aware of a possible location.

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