The town’s last remaining Royal British Legion has ‘defied all the odds’ after facing near certain closure.
Facing ‘huge debts’ and with ‘creditors banging on the door’, last October Aldwick RBL was just weeks from disappearing forever.
In a desperate, last-ditch attempt to save it from extinction, a new emergency acting committee was formed and, along with some help, managed to keep the club in Hewarts Lane open.
“To say it’s been a challenging nine months for the club is an understatement,” said club secretary Chris Dowling.
“Last year our backs were against the wall, and rumours were rife that the Aldwick British Legion was to close.
“Contrary to those rumours in fact, quite the opposite, we have defied all the odds and are delighted to be sharing our success story with you.”
The positive news is hugely welcome as it follows the closure of the Bognor RBL branch in May, in what was its 95th year of operating.
That has plunged the Bognor Regis Remembrance Service and parade this year in real doubt, though Bognor Town Council has said it is hopeful it will still take place.
Speaking about the troubles of the Aldwick RBL, the town’s last remaining Legion, Mrs Dowling said: “In October last year, a new emergency acting committee was formed as a last chance to save the legion as the club was facing a very difficult financial period with a huge debt and facing the threat of closure withing a few weeks.
“Creditors were banging on the door, legal letters dropping on the door mat, beer pumps were running dry, an almost empty cellar and no money in the bank.
“Some may say it would be easier to walk away but failure was not an option.
“With true grit and determination, the dedicated selected committee team along with our members all came together to support the club.”
Mrs Dowling said ‘true community spirit’ saw people donate barrels of beer and spirits as well as cash donations to help keep the club afloat.
Nine months down the line, MR Dowling says things are well and truly on the up.
She said: “We are proud to say the club is in great shape. We are almost debt free. We have no creditors chasing us, and we have money in our bank. Now we can focus on more fun stuff.”
New membership is now just £26, and people can follow upcoming events at the club by ‘liking’ the Aldwick Royal British Legion Facebook page.
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