Church keeps alive Bute’s veteran support traditions

The meeting hall of St Paul's Church in Rothesay was used to manufacture papier-mache artificial limbs for veterans of the First World War.

The meeting hall of St Paul's Church in Rothesay was used to manufacture papier-mache artificial limbs for veterans of the First World War.

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This fascinating photograph shows a group of volunteers making papier-mache artificial limbs for veterans of the First World War at St Paul’s Church Hall in Rothesay - where the congregation of 2012 is helping keep alive the island’s long tradition of support for former service personnel.

The tables shown in the picture above have been donated to the Isle of Bute branch of the Royal British Legion Scotland, which helps to keep alive the memory of the sacrifices that serving men and women have been willing to make in the 20th century and into the 21st century for the sake of freedom and peace.

The RBLS is the largest ex-service charity in Scotland, with branches and clubs throughout the country. Working in close partnership with other Scottish charities, it is responsible for providing direct assistance, such as welfare and pension advice, and comradeship.

Ex-service personnel (including those who were in the reserve forces) may become ordinary members, and anyone who supports the Legion’s aims can become an associate member.

On Bute the branch provides support for many ex-servicemen and women, helping them in times of need with advice and direct assistance.

The branch’s members also organise the annual Poppy Scotland appeal (the Earl Haig Fund is run as part of the British Legion) which provides vital care and support for ex-servicemen and women in need.

The Scottish Poppy Appeal raises more than £2 million nationally each year and, combined with other year-round fundraising, this provides financial assistance to thousands of ex-Servicemen and women as well as helping to fund specialist services such as long term care, housing and employment.

St Paul’s Church has a long history and connection with the armed forces on Bute, with previous Rectors assisting with services at military establishments and hospitals on the island during the world wars.

The present rector, the Very Rev Andrew Swift, himself an ex-serviceman, is an ordinary member of, and Padre to, the local branch of the Legion.

Mr Swift said: “We are delighted to be able to help the British Legion with the small donation of these tables.

“The historical significance of tables used to assist Great War veterans by the manufacture of papier-mache artificial limbs sits exceptionally well with the work that the RBLS is doing today to help veterans of recent and current conflicts.”