When it became clear just how much the pandemic was going to limit everyone’s social interactions, Alexander Harley’s son Alex became concerned for his father’s wellbeing.

 Alexander, 91, had been an active member of the Knightswood branch of Legion Scotland for many years. Now, some years later, he lives alone and suffers from Alzheimer’s disease, with carers visiting every day.

 “He loved meeting up with his mates for a beer, a chat and to play a game of his beloved darts,” Alex says. “Time passes slowly for him now and, I would think, feels like a life of visits and phone calls and watching the television. We realised he needed help in the shape of social interaction with new blood to hopefully rekindle some memories and again, hopefully, to improve his current lifestyle.”

 So Alex contacted the Knightswood branch and spoke to branch chairman Barclay McCran. Support was promptly offered and just three days later, Alex met Barclay at Alexander’s house – observing all COVID-19 protocols.

 Barclay says: “We thought that Alexander had moved out of the area about 25 years ago, so it was a surprise when Alex called up and said he was just down the road in Bearsden. He was a good friend years ago when he was captain of the darts team. I had always wondered what had happened to him. He’s a lovely man and very well-respected. It was great to see him again.”

 Alex says: “Barclay has been nothing short of fantastic. It turned out that my father, who was a driving instructor in his later years, had taught Barclay how to drive. I noticed immediately an upturn in my dad’s demeanour and he really enjoyed the visit.”

 Barclay has since located two of Alexander’s darts playing pals and hopes to rekindle their friendship through visits and a trip to the Legion Scotland club, as restrictions permit.

 Alex says: “On behalf of my family, I cannot thank Barclay enough for his response and the level of help he has given us. Royal British Legion Scotland are very lucky to have people like Barclay. I feel really positive about how this can progress through the coming months.

 “I now realise that the RBLS membership and the number of branches are both in decline, and that saddens and amazes me. I served for 27 years and was under the impression that collectively the Armed Forces’ standing in this country had never been higher and that all in the garden was rosy. How wrong I was!”

 Fortunately for the Knightswood branch, they’ve seen a strong number of renewals this year despite lack of access to the club – with more than 160 of around 200 members renewing so far.

 A few members of the Knightswood branch have been busy at the club premises, painting every room in the building – which Barclay says will be a “nice surprise” for members when they’re welcomed back inside.

 Barclay has been out and about visiting other older veterans in the area, and helping to deliver shopping to them too. “We just want to let them know that the Legion hasn’t forgotten about them.”

Or as Alex says, “The Royal British Legion Scotland has a very proud and distinguished history … and simply put, when my father needed them, they were there for him.”