The Ripley branch of the Royal British Legion has been reformed, 11 yearsafter it last had an active presence in the town.
Self-employed pest control technician Dean Fowler has restarted the branch to help the many ex-service personel in the Ripley area – because he says he has seen the good work the charity does first hand.
Dad-of-four Dean said the Legion was instrumental in helpinghis daughter’s fiance Aaron Shelton receive health benefits when he lost part of his leg in a roadside explosion in Afghanistan in 2007.
The same incident killed 21-year-old drummer Thomas Wright from Ripley.
Dean, 48, of Peasehill, Ripley, said: “In the last few years we have had people killed in action and injured from Ripley – I think it’s very important that a Ripley branch can be reformed and well supported continually.”
Dean, who is also the area co-ordinator for the Derbyshire Royal British Legion Riders branch said a lot of ex-service personnel were not aware that support was available through the charity.
He said “We hear all too often that ex-serving personnel come out and find it so hard to adapt back to civilian life. But there’s help out there and support.”
The first meeting of the Ripley branch is set to take place next Thursday, June 14, at the Barnes Wallis pub in Maple Avenue, Ripley, starting at 7pm. All Ripley based members of the Legion will be invited, but anyone wishing to join is welcome to come on the night.
Thomas Wright’s father Ian, of Ash Crescent in Ripley, is to be the treasurer for the branch, as well as the new Poppy Appeal co-ordinator for the district.
He said: “We do look after service personel past and present. It’s surprising what we do really.
“We lost our Tom in 2007. The Legion was there for me right from the word go. I guess this is just putting a bit back into it.”