‘Only a miracle’ would save Ilford Royal British Legion club

A former chairman of a Royal British Legion Club, which will be forced to close less than two months before Remembrance Day, has said it is “heart-wrenching” to see it shut.

The Ilford club, in Durban Road, Seven Kings, will close at the end of the month, bringing an end to its 87-year history.

Jack Weedon, 75, of Seven Kings, has been a member for 54 years.

He said: “We just haven’t had the support we needed, and the changing population in the borough has also affected membership.

“It is heart-wrenching to think the club will be closing soon and I really wish there was something I could do. “Only a miracle would save it.”

The Recorder reported in March that unless more members joined and �40,000 was raised, the club – which opened in 1925 – would close this year.

Former Navy officer, Bob Doyle, 84, of Ladysmith Avenue, Seven Kings, who has been visiting the club for more than 30 years, said it “will be like a part of my body has been ripped away”.

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He added: “I feel very sad about the whole thing and I will miss all the boys.

“I thought the world of the armed forces and this club, and I have done a lot to it myself.

“We just haven’t had enough people visiting, but I didn’t dream that it would come to this.”

Branch members hope that the up-coming Poppy Appeal will be as successful as ever and that the closure of the club will not have too much of an impact.

Chairman of the Barkingside branch, John Coombes, said: “When our club shut down in 2006, we also lost some of our members and also a space to store our Poppy Appeal items.

“However we managed to increase our appeal total from between �7,000-10,000 to �30,000 this year.

“So it can still be done without a regular club. We were determined to carry on.”

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