THE Pershore and District Branch of the Royal British Legion has welcomed its first female president in its 85-year history.

At the club's annual dinner and awards ceremony chairman Ken Tallis welcomed Lt Col Susan Payne into her appointment as first ever woman branch President.

Born in Pershore and educated locally Col Payne pursued a Military career and was commissioned in 1975.

Col Payne held many academic appointments and qualifications over the years and was awarded Territorial Decoration1986, Queens Honorary Nurse 1991 to 1994 and granted Freedom of the City of London in 1993.

Retirement in 2009 eventually brought a return to Eckington where the 64-year-old now lives but she remains a Visiting Professor in Nursing at London Southbank University.

She said: "I am delighted with the appointment. All the chaps seem to be very happy and I am the first woman in the club's 85-year history.

"I have been part of the branch since 1982 but was largely either away in the army or living in London until my retirement in 2009.

"The role will see me representing the branch and the RBL so I hope I can do a good job. The last chap did the role for 15 years I think so I will be in the position for as long as I can."

During the annual dinner guests also heard from Major Andy Stephens, who was also born in Pershore and enlisted in the Army in 1979.

They also issued cadet awards on the night the Ubique Trophy for the best Army Cadet, Pershore Troop ACF to L/Bdr Martha Sadler.

The Anchor Trophy for best Sea Cadet from Training Ship Scimitar was given to Leading Cadet

Frazier Harley.

The Bryant Award for best Cadet from St. John Ambulance went to Emily Foster-Philips and the Adastral Trophy for best Air Training Corp Cadet went to 233 Pershore Squadron, Flt Sgt Jack Turton.

The event also raised £350.50.