British Legion club is to close

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SADDENED loyal supporters of the Royal British Legion club in Bognor Regis have voted to close it.

The final day at the Clifton Road premises will be this Saturday (November 3). A private birthday party will provide the finale to almost 90 years of social gatherings in the building.

Former management committee treasurer Poppy Jeffries said: “I’m very upset by the closure of the club. I’ve been there for 31 years.

“A lot of people are upset by what has happened. It’s a shame.

“But we just couldn’t carry on. We’ve had to accept the club had to close. We told members plenty of times they had to use the club or lose it.”

The closure was decided at a special meeting for its members last Thursday. The management committee resigned at the meeting as it became clear closure was the only option.

The timing of the decision is especially poignant. Remembrance Sunday, which a separate section of the Legion organises each year, is just over a week away.

Aubrey Price, a member for some 60 years, said: “I am sad the club is closing but I’m not surprised.

“It’s been going downhill because there wasn’t the money to do the repairs that needed doing.

“The number of members has declined and that’s the trouble.”

Recent Saturdays saw some 30-40 there compared to 80-90 a few years ago. The club was opened in the early 1920s, said Mrs Price, 90, of Richmond Road North.

It began when two or three men were sitting in a hut in Clifton Road at the end of the first world war when a parade of filthy and dishevelled soldiers marched past straight back from the front line.

The men were inspired to set up a Legion club to honour the soldiers’ memory.

Remembrance Sunday and the Poppy Appeal are unaffected by the closure. Mrs Jefferies will be in the building for wreaths and poppies to be collected. She hopes to stay elsewhere in the town centre in 2013.