A GROUP of men in Ludlow that has been doing charitable fund raising for many years is desperately looking for new blood.

The passing of time means that the Ludlow Lodge of the Royal Antediluvian Order of Buffalos needs to bring in some new members.

It is an order that dates back to 1822 and helps members, their families and also charitable causes.

The Ludlow Castle Branch is now down to just five members.

One of them is Ludlow town councillor and former town Mayor Jim Smithers.

The order is all male and a little bit like the masons but different.

Known as ‘the buffs’ the group has helped charitable and good causes down the years.

During the first world war it earned a name for providing ambulances to bring wounded servicemen from the front line.

The local charities that members have helped in recent times include Hope House Hospice and the Ludlow Youth Forum.

At one time the Ludlow Castle Lodge had a healthy membership but this has fallen steadily.

Mr Smithers joined in 2011 and has enjoyed his involvement.

He was also able to benefit from spending time at a convalescence home that the order runs at the headquarters in Harrogate in Yorkshire after he.

This followed a minor stroke that Mr Smithers suffered whilst at home.

“I went to a meeting and as not well,” said Mr Smithers.

“One of the members notice and in hardly anytime a convalescence break was organised. They paid my train fare and for my accommodation and I was met with a driver at the railway station.

The Ludlow group meets once a week and potential new members are welcome.

Membership is open to all males over the age of 18 who are willing to declare that they are ‘true and loyal supporters of the British Crown and Constitution.’ Discussion of politics or religion is strictly forbidden at gatherings, as is gambling.

The fear is that if enough new members cannot be found then the group in Ludlow may have to stop meeting.

But if fresh blood can be found then there can be a revival that will not only help to provide additional funding for local charitable causes but also give a social opportunity for people who are perhaps isolated and lonely.

“We would suggest that anyone who is interested come along, join the public part of our meetings and see what they think,” said Mr Smithers.

They should contact Mr Smithers, telephone 01584 873049.