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association AGM at the Lea Hall Social Club for which the Branch acted as host. In April, the Branch was invited to a Surprise Party for Peter McPherson-Smith. There was a good attendance for the day and a good laugh too, with Peter turning up early and ruining the surprise! Richard and Tom took the Branch Standard to the Anzac Parade on Cannock Chase. Yet again, the Standard was well received. The members who attended were later made very welcome at the festivities at the Royal British Legion at Brereton after the parade. Thanks go to Peter McPherson-Smith for the invitation.


In June, Malcolm, a member of Mechanised Mercian, tried out his new scooter and collected funds at the Rugeley Charter Fair, raising over £37 for Branch funds. In July, Tom and Richard attended the Birmingham Veterans’ Parade with members from other Branches. The RSM of 4th Battalion The Mercian Regiment, WO1 Jim Stuart, surprised us with an excellent buffet which was appreciated by everyone when we arrived back at Wolseley House in Wolvehampton. All The Rugeley Regimental Associations joined together to help organise the Help the Heroes Ball at the Lea Hall Social Club. With over three hundred people attending, £11,000 was collected for the fund. All current serving personnel received a certificate from the Town Council. Tom McComski represented the Branch at the TA100 celebration at Tamworth Castle which was an excellent evening. Members of the Branch attended The Staffordshire Regiment Reunion at Swynnerton Training Camp in August. Map reading is still a difficult skill for some members, but they eventually found the Sergeants’ Mess for drinks before taking part in the Annual Parade followed by a fine dinner. The less said about the break dancing and wall climbing the better!


September was by far the busiest month with the Branch Standard and representatives being invited to the Cannock Chase District Council Reception and Dinner for the new Council. Then there was the TA100 Ceremony at the National Memorial Arboretum. Richard carried the Standard, supported by a good turnout of Branch members who had not forgotten how to march with swank and swagger! It was a proud day for the Association. The day ended with an excellent social evening at the Royal British Legion at Rugeley with members from other Branches and WO1 Jim Stuart swelling the numbers. In October, the Branch was represented by Richard and Alison at the Kidderminster Karaoke Night and everyone had a thoroughly good evening. This was followed by a large contingent attending the Burton Curry Evening. There were lots of old faces to see and lots of old stories to tell of C Company days, followed by an excellent curry. It was good to see Luke Cole at the event.


152 October 2009


November began with the Bridgetown Remembrance Parade. This was a well attended parade by the Branch with Richard carrying the Standard and Tom as escort. Richard again paraded the Standard at the ceremony at the Mercian Grove when the Association held a short Service after the committee meeting at The National Memorial Arboretum. At the Rugeley Remembrance parade, Brian Jones carried the Standard supported by a very high turnout from the Branch. Richard laid the wreath at the Cenotaph and Malcolm laid the wreath at the cemetery. A very good attendance by the public made this a special parade although there wasn’t a band. A moving flag ceremony was held at sundown at the Royal British Legion with Tom McComski leading the ceremony. Members attended the Stafford OCA social evening and Richard and Alison attended the Walsall Branch Christmas Party. The last meeting of the year was celebrated with a toast to all members of the Regiment who could not attend. It has been a very busy and enjoyable year, during which the Standard and the Branch have been very warmly received on all occasions. Thanks go to Alison Bates for making available wreaths with our Mercian badge in the centre. Peter McPherson-Smith is waiting to go into hospital for an exploratory operation for his back problems. We wish him a speedy recovery. Thanks also to all the members who made the year’s activities possible.


Rugeley Branch meets at 1130hrs on the third Sunday of the month at the Royal British Legion, Rugeley.


Stockport


The Branch, led by its chairman Ken Ward, continues to grow in strength and stature. The president, Lt Col Tony Angel, presented awards to Mr Paul Lomas and Mrs Hazel Lomas for their outstanding work for the Branch during the last year. Paul is the Branch Standard Bearer and has represented the Branch on many military occasions. Hazel, who was a regular soldier with the WRAC, has supported Paul and the Branch throughout. Mr Les Heighway was also presented with an award for his work in raising funds for the Branch. The Branch joined forces with the Cheshire Regiments Association Branch to hold a karaoke night and, on another occasion, members and friends enjoyed a Sunday lunch in the Cheshire Regiment Association Club in Chester. In endeavouring to bolster Branch funds, the Branch again joined forces with the Cheshire Regiment Association to hold a Race Night. Over one hundred members and friends from both Branches enjoyed an evening of betting a few bob in the hope of having a winner past the post! The total profit for the night was the fine sum of £630 which was divided between the two Branches.


The success of the Race Night event at the Armoury TA Centre encouraged a group of about twenty members to spend a day at Chester Races for the Cheshire Regiment Cup. Yet again, a happy and successful outcome for the Mercian Mafia and the party went on until the late hours. Thirty members and families of the Stockport Branch with the Branch Standard attended the Crich Memorial Service. The weather was not kind but did not in any way spoil a very moving and memorable day. The Branch appreciated the invitation from Col Hackett and WFRA. Again, the Branch was present when 1st Battalion The Mercian Regiment received the Freedom of Chester and later marched through the City, followed by refreshments in the Castle courtyard with members of the Cheshire Regiment Association.


In July, the Branch, together with a local building firm, hosted a Charity Dinner at the Armoury TA Centre in aid of the Tree House Trust Baby Unit at Stepping Hill Hospital. Over £5000 was raised for the charity. Over fifty Branch members attended with their wives, partners and friends plus Cheshire Regiment Association members and two hundred employees of the Mears Group. They were all welcomed at the entrance by the Mercian Regiment Mascot with escort followed by pre-dinner drinks in the Meeanee Lounge. The guest of honour for the evening was Pte Luke Cole MC. Sgt Peter Gailey, who had served with 1st Battalion The Mercian Volunteers, was responsible for the buffet supper. Following the charity evening, the Branch was on parade again at St George’s Church on Sunday 3rd August with the Cheshire Regiment Association to mark the ninety first anniversary of the battle of St Julien which took place on 31st July 1917. Among the guests were the Mayor of Stockport and Chief Superintendent N Wain of the Greater Manchester Police. The Branch President, Lt Col Tony Angel TD, and the CRA Branch President, Maj S C R B Burton TD, and vice-President Maj J S Holden TD, were also on parade. Branch members retired to the Armoury TA Centre after the parade for a curry lunch.


Continuing to support local charities, Mr Paul Daniels together with two other members of the Branch set up a paint ball arena at a local Sunday festival and raised a considerable sum of money for the SSAFA fund. The Branch joined the Cheshire Regiment Association on 14th September for the Annual Mons Parade and Service at Chester. Brig Andrew Sharpe took the salute at the march past with the band playing and Standards flying, supported by large crowds of spectators, many of them tourists from overseas. Photographs were taken of the Mercian standard so now we are known on both sides of the Atlantic! On 25th October, the Branch once again feasted on Cheshire Hot Pot at the sixtieth anniversary of the


The Mercian Eagle


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