Legion forces closure of village social club

RBL women's section treasurer Janet Shaw and Peter Guy with a petition outside the Legion club. SG190813-121TW
RBL women's section treasurer Janet Shaw and Peter Guy with a petition outside the Legion club. SG190813-121TW
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Ex-service veterans are reeling over the shock closure of Sutton Bridge Royal British Legion Social Club.

The club is a limited company, run separately from the branch, but has been given its marching orders by Haig House – the Legion’s headquarters in London – because of outstanding debts.

The premises in Gas House Lane will close on August 31 and local officials have been busy cancelling bookings – possibly including a wedding reception – after that date.

Branch chairman Peter Guy (81) said: “The headquarters in London has said that we owe some money to different organisations, gas, electricity and that, and so therefore we are insolvent and they have decided to close us.”

Mr Guy says he’s disgusted by the ruling because the club has paid “if not all, but most of it” and hasn’t been given enough of a chance to turn things around.

“We have functions on for the next three or four weeks, we have got a wedding, but in their wisdom they have closed us.”

Mr Guy, a Royal Signals veteran, has been going to the club for 61 years and says the branch will soldier on following the closure.

But he says members will be faced with room hire costs for Remembrance and other events which they can’t pay out of their own pockets.

A spokesman for The Royal British Legion in London said: “It was originally advised that the Sutton Bridge Royal British Legion Club should close in May 2012 – this decision was appealed by the club committee and a second review of the financial viability of the club was agreed.

“The second review returned the same findings that, although they had reduced their liabilities, the Sutton Bridge RBL club was unable to satisfy its outgoings and was therefore in breach of its licence conditions, which state that the club has to remain solvent for the period of their licence.

“All clubs that bear the Legion’s name are totally independent members’ society clubs – a private members’ club – affiliated to the RBL but not under our direct control.”