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Pictures: Leeds village shares in Royal British Legion milestone as new standard is dedicated

A piper leads the procession from All Saints Church to the maypole and war memorial in Barwick in Elmet. Pictures: James Hardisty
A piper leads the procession from All Saints Church to the maypole and war memorial in Barwick in Elmet. Pictures: James Hardisty

Villagers in Barwick in Elmet looked on with pride this weekend as their local Royal British Legion branch marked an important milestone.

After countless Remembrance parades, memorial services and armed forces events over more than four decades, the Barwick and Scholes branch’s ceremonial standard was beginning to show its age.

Standards are lowered at the war memorial where a wreath was also laid.

Standards are lowered at the war memorial where a wreath was also laid.

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On Saturday its new standard was dedicated in a service at All Saints Church and led through the village in the company of a piper and colourful county and group standards.

The branch’s oldest member, 93-year-old Ted Stuart, brought the formal proceedings to a close by laying a wreath in front of the crowd assembled at the village’s war memorial.

Branch standard bearer Martyn Simpson, a 56-year-old RAF veteran, said: “The day went brilliantly, it really did. It’s 100 years since the end of the First World War and it’s the RAF’s centenary, so it’s significant to have our dedication in this year.

The Lord Mayor of Leeds, Coun Jane Dowson, and branch standard bearer Martyn Simpson hold the new commemorative standard.

The Lord Mayor of Leeds, Coun Jane Dowson, and branch standard bearer Martyn Simpson hold the new commemorative standard.

“We couldn’t find a record for the last standard but one of the members said it was dedicated some time between 1972 and 1975, so the standard I’ve been carrying was over 40 years old.”

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Fundraising for the new standard was aided by a donation from Elmet Parish Council and a collection held at the funeral of Legion member Audrey Akeroyd, Leeds’ first female Territorial Army sergeant.

Mr Simpson said: “The day itself became not only a dedication but also a memorial to Audrey. Her family were there as well to see it all take place.

“The church itself was pretty much full. There’s pride within the villages and they do come out, support the Legion and make us welcome.

Standards bearers take part in the dedication service inside the church.

Standards bearers take part in the dedication service inside the church.

“It’s meant a lot for the village because it’s over 40 years since they’ve had anything like that take place.”

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The old standard will be officially retired later this year.

Members of the congregation stand for the arrival of the standards.

Members of the congregation stand for the arrival of the standards.

The Lord Mayor of Leeds, Coun Jane  Dowson, joins branch members and villagers for the service.

The Lord Mayor of Leeds, Coun Jane Dowson, joins branch members and villagers for the service.