St Albans British Legion facing closure

PUBLISHED: 15:06 28 August 2011

Caretaker and chairman Don Dell.

Caretaker and chairman Don Dell.

THE chairman of the Royal British Legion’s St Albans branch has warned that it faces closure unless more people get involved with the club.

Don Dell took over as RBL chairman last year and believes he has done everything he can to breathe new life into the Verulam Road club, which has been in existence for 86 years.

“The problems started with a bit of bad management over the past few years,” said Don. “I stepped in to help, but the numbers had already begun to decline and people just aren’t coming in anymore.”

Don, 69, has been working long hours to keep the club afloat, acting as caretaker and barman, as well as carrying out his chairman’s duties.

“Trying to juggle everything is just impossible and I’m running myself down,” said Don.

“On top of this, members aren’t coming in so we are not getting the funds we need to keep us going.

“We just need to get more people through the door in order to get the club back on its feet. The problem is, people think the RBL is just for older people, which is not the case, but we just can’t seem to lose that stigma.”

Don has written to all 200 members to ask why they aren’t coming in regularly and what changes they would like to see.

Members have subsequently been expressing their concerns, following an emergency meeting to discuss the clubs future last Tuesday.

Paulette Field joined the RBL after her nephew went to Afghanistan and has been a committee member for four years.

“I love the RBL and everything it stands for,” said Paulette. “It’s our past as well as our future.

“We need to get more people using it as it will be such a shame if it has to close.”

Anyone interested in helping out or becoming a member, can drop into the club and speak to Don for more information.

“It can’t continue as it is now,” concluded Don. “If we don’t get this help, the club will close.”

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