Family tribute to Melton woman who was a British legion stalwart

Margery Brutnell holds the Royal British Legion standard for the women's section at its Melton HQ in her early years with the organisation EMN-150408-101510001

Margery Brutnell holds the Royal British Legion standard for the women's section at its Melton HQ in her early years with the organisation EMN-150408-101510001

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A Melton woman who was awarded an MBE by the Queen after long and dedicated service with the Royal British Legion has died aged 94.

Margery Brutnell was a prominent member of the women’s section of the town branch for most of her life after joining in 1946 and her prowess as a standard bearer helped her win the prestigious national competition in 1962.

Her dedication to the organisation was rewarded in 2002 when the Queen recognised her in the Jubilee Honours List after she had then served 52 years with the Legion.

After bearing the standard at so many events commemorating the world wars it was poignant that she passed away on the 70th anniversary of VE Day on May 8.

Margery’s niece, Jill Luke, of Banbury Drive, Melton, said: “ON VE Day Margery was stationed at Woolwich Barracks in London while serving with the Auxiliary Territorial Services.

“They were woken at midnight by an officer, who told them to get into their battledress and get into central London.

“She couldn’t remember how they got there but could remember coming back to barracks many hours later on a milk float.

“So it is poignant that 70 years to the day after she celebrated VE Day on the streets of London, Margery was finally back in barracks.”

Joan Margery Briggs was born on October 28, 1920, at Sewstern, as the second of five siblings - three girls and two boys. Her sister Dora is now the sole survivor of the children.

After leaving school she spent much of her time looking after the family until finding an office job in Leicester.

When the Second World War broke out in 1939, Margery enlisted in the Army and joined the ATS, rising to the rank of sergeant. She made friends in the military, including members of the WRAC, which lasted a lifetime.

After the war she left the Army and moved back to the family home at Frisby, where she met and then married Jack, who died in 2007. They adopted a son, John, in 1956, who died earlier this year after a long illness.

Margery was always proud of John, as she was of his two children, Tom and Louise, and her grandchildren James and Thomas. She was delighted to be well enough to attend Tom’s wedding last year.

Margery lived her final years, after almost 60 years of marriage, at Gretton Court in Melton. The family have extended thanks to staff there and her friends Chris and Reg Talbot for their support in enabling her to continue living at home.

Visitors to the Melton branch of the Royal British Legion can see Margery’s MBE medal and citation proudly displayed on the wall.

Her niece added: “Margery always wanted to make sure that servicemen and their families received their just entitlements and was even known to take coal and other provisions in the boot of her car to anyone in need.

“She was definitely the ‘go-to’ woman if anything needed doing - she was full of life and energy and someone who loved all sports and travelling abroad.”