THE 75-year-old secretary of The Cheshire Regiment Association is launching an urgent appeal for young blood amid fears the group’s elderly members won’t be around for ever.
The association’s proud 40-year history is under threat as the average age of the members reaches more than 75 years old, with branch president George Ford celebrating his 90th birthday this year.
Gordon Kipps, branch secretary, of Wervin, said: “Our emblem is the oak tree and we as the members are the branches of that tree, feeding it’s roots.
“If we disappear then the tree will die. One branch is Worcestershire has already closed due to low numbers and we desperately don’t want that to happen here.”
Branch members are dedicated to upholding the traditions, historic achievements and memories of the 22nd (Cheshire) Regiment, now the 1st Battalion Mercian Regiment (Cheshire).
They meet once a month in Ellesmere Port to discuss branch business, plan events and days out and socialise over a pint.
“We’ve got 25 members at the moment but numbers are dwindling due to illnesses and the grim reaper,” said widower Gordon, who served in the regiment from 1955-58. “My concern is when we go, who will step in to carry the flag?
“We urgently need an injection of new blood in the form of new recruits from the younger generation. Without their input the memories of the regiment, raised in 1689 on the Roodee in Chester by Henry Duke of Norfolk will fade into obscurity. This can not happen.”
Gordon fears post-traumatic stress disorder and debilitating injuries sustained by veterans of conflicts like The Gulf War act as a barrier to new members.
He added: “They won’t come forward, many came back with ill health and trauma from the things they witnessed out there and they don’t want to talk or think about their experiences.
“But they can speak to us, it’s always better to talk about these things.”
Any badge wearing member of the regiment is eligible to join, as are their wives.
“We are thinking of opening up to all service corps personnel and we will welcome everyone really.
“So come on all you youngsters, answer the bugle call.”
Telephone Gordon on 01244 370743 or 07779 235709.