Sidmouth RBL appoints new president Kim

Eileen Hodges retires as Sidmouth Royal British Legion president

NEW president of Sidmouth branch of the Royal British Legion is town resident Kim Smith.

Kim, 91, has lived in Sidmouth for 31 years and has been a member of the RBL for most of that time.

“I was surprised when they asked me and enormously honoured to be appointed as president,” said Kim, who is a retired banker.

“This is particularly so as I am succeeding Eileen Hodges, who by herself in recent times, but before with her husband George, has worked unceasingly over a great many years in support of the RBL in a way I cannot begin to emulate.

“I am so pleased she has agreed to stay on the committee.”

Kim said he felt incredibly humble when he considered who had been president of the branch before him, including the late Brigadier Birdie Smith (no relation) who Kim described as “a real life hero”, having lost an arm in action.

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He said he felt very encouraged by the number of people, both young and old, who had turned out for Sidmouth’s Remembrance Sunday parade and wreath laying to remember those who had died in wars and conflicts while serving their country.

“There were more this year than ever before in recent times,” he said.

But this is just one part of the work the RBL branch does.

“A greater responsibility is to ensure the welfare of those or their dependants who have served our country while in the Forces of the Crown, but now need our support,” he said.

While the branch committee all has responsibilities regarding welfare, it is chairman Dave O’Connor who has special responsibility and reports at every committee meeting.

“Sidmouth is fortunate in having so diligent a chairman in Dave, who works unceasingly in the interests of the Legion,” said Kim, who also praised secretary Maxine Kershaw for her work and Poppy Organiser Sue Pink, “who has worked terribly hard and done so well this year.”

Sidmouthian Eileen, who stood down as president at last week’s annual meeting, has been a poppy collector for some 60 years and says she would “do it all again” if she were able to.