Cornwall

Royal British Legion club members asked to leave group

Members of a Royal British Legion club in Cornwall are being asked to leave the national group to ensure their club stays open because it is losing money.

Managers at the Redruth club said the legion's national image was discouraging potential new members.

If it did not become independent, it could close in weeks, they added.

Legion county manager Keith Naylor said the club was entitled to make such a move, but that it would be disappointing if it did.

Club manager Rachel Goodman said that the club closing was "definitely a possibility" because it was losing about £1,000 a week.

Club chairman Peter McDonald said they were asking for a disaffiliation vote in a bid to start again and attract new members.

He said: "They don't want to join because the British Legion nationally has an image of clubs full of old men telling war stories.

"For that reason we cannot get youngsters, or even middle-aged people, coming through our doors. They don't see us as their place."

Campaigners also said that the cost of subscriptions, which were the highest in the area compared to other social clubs, also put off potential members.

At present members pay an annual fee of £15, £11 of which goes to the county association.

Mr McDonald said that 75% of the club's membership needed to agree with the plans.

However, Mr Naylor said that it was 75% of the town branch's 358 members that needed to approve the plans, not 75% of the club's 220 members.

'Hard to survive'

But he added that clubs had difficulties like any other licensed premises.

He said: "They're all suffering from the smoking ban and people drinking more at home. All those aspects make it very hard to survive.

"It is entirely up to the membership of that club what they want to do.

"We would obviously be very disappointed, because what tends to happen is that the branch still exists, but members tend to drift way.

"We've got over 10,000 members in Cornwall and 358 members in Redruth. If even half of Redruth disappears, that's a big chunk of membership we've lost."

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