At the tail end of 2022, the Oldmeldrum club committee called an Extraordinary General Meeting. Hundreds of people from the local Aberdeenshire community turned out to hear some stark news: either a brand new committee had to be formed, or the whole place was going to close down for good. 

Benn Sievewright, 31, was one of the attendees at that meeting. Having served in the Navy for seven and a half years and been a resident of Oldmeldrum his entire life, he knew the value of the club. And so, his hand shot up. A new chairman had been found. Other hands followed, and soon a small but motivated committee was formed. The club, for now, was saved. 

Since then, things haven’t exactly been easy sailing. “We essentially got given the keys, got told ‘good luck’, and that was the end of the conversation,” explains Benn. “We had to figure out how to run a Legion branch and club – we were in at the deep end.” 

Thankfully, the ship has now been steadied. There’s money back in the bank and the committee has started to secure its future. Benn, who works in IT, and the other committee members all have full-time jobs beyond their Legion Scotland commitments. 

Because of the financial costs of keeping a club open, it was clear that things would need to be run more like a business. The club itself is a lovely space, with a large function hall, lounge, bar, games tables, kitchen, dancefloor, conference space and museum. Benn and the committee realised they needed to charge more for room hire, to cover the increasing energy costs and also to create a safety net. 

Other successes came from new initiatives: a flyering campaign around the village nearly doubled local memberships to just over 300, and new monthly events, plus a Saturday night meal, have helped to build a sense of community. 

The committee represents the wide range of people who make use of Oldmeldrum club. Several members have no direct link to the Armed Forces community but can recall memories of visiting the club for decades; others are veterans, or used to work at the

club bar, which still has a paid staffer. 

There are more ambitious plans still to come, such as making the venue more open-plan, doing something new with the museum, and making sure it serves its users best. For now, though, Oldmeldrum is doing well – and the new committee is determined to keep the successes coming. 

Committee member Joan Western says, “These new, young and determined members… have done a remarkable job. It’s saved the Legion.” 

For Benn, the younger generation is key. “It’s all about making sure [Legion Scotland] is modernised and you have this generation of people coming to use it. There aren’t a lot of places in Scotland that have a big military community because there aren’t that many bases left. It’s about going beyond to the wider community.” 

To find out more about what’s going on at Oldmeldrum, and to support a fundraising initiative to regenerate the club, visit