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Legion club says rumour it's closing is untrue
A BRANCH of the Royal British Legion is fighting its own phoney war – against a claim it is going out of business.
Managers at the Headington branch in Edgecombe Road, Barton, say a rumour is being spread it is going to close within a fortnight, which is in turn costing it money.
They learnt of the rumour – which they deny – when a wedding reception for the summer was booked at another venue because the organisers were told the Headington RBL wouldn’t be running then.
One of the longest serving members and secretary of the club Terry Cox, 61, from Barton said: “We hire the hall out for private parties and people are saying: ‘We won’t book as you are not staying open’.
“We just want the rumour stopped so that we can prove to people that we are still going strong.”
But the club’s membership is dwindling – down to 210 people from 340 two years ago.
Mr Cox added: “It hasn’t been a successful year but we haven’t lost as much money as we normally have. We have had to borrow to keep us on the straight and narrow.”
Members said they did not know how the rumours started, how they were being spread or how long for.
Two new volunteers, Angie Stevens and Emma Webster, have just started at the club and are now trying to give it a new lease of life.
They have been coming up with new ideas and say they are determined to shatter perceptions that it is only used by old men playing dominos.
Mrs Stevens, 52, from Barton, said: “We haven’t got any plans to close down. We want to get the message out there that it is a family club.”
Events coming up include an Easter bonnet parade and an Easter egg hunt. Also planned are a race afternoon, with dog races on the big screen, and a psychic night. A children’s party with a beach theme is also on the agenda.
Darts, snooker and Aunt Sally teams all use the venue.
Mrs Stevens has been using the venue for 20 years.
She ran the London Marathon last year to raise funds for the Royal British Legion.
She added: “People say to us they didn’t know it existed. It is massive here and we have got a big dance floor. We are working together and coming up with ideas.
“It still has to be raising money for the soldiers, but a lot of soldiers are younger now.”
She added repatriation ceremonies outside the John Radcliffe Hospital had reminded people the RBL was still relevant.
The club opened as a permanent base in 1965. Previously the branch had met at the Six Bells pub in Headington. If you can help, contact 01865 762273.