‘What is happening to our club?’ demand Barrowby Royal British Legion members

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Members of the Royal British Legion in Barrowby say they are being left in the dark over the future of their fire-ravaged club.

The village’s British Legion club was severely damaged by fire in October last year and the building remains boarded up and out of use.

Former members have refused to pay membership fees to the club because it has not re-opened. Keyth Hart, who has been a member of the local club for 20 years, said: “We have had no notification as to what is happening. I got a form for membership recently but there is no point in joining this year.”

Mr Hart meets up with other RBL members in the local pub as an alternative to the club. He said: “Nobody knows anything. The place is rife with rumours. Everybody is getting pretty angry. It’s quite unbelievable that nobody has told us anything in 13 months.”

The club in Low Road was destroyed by fire on October 2 last year. The blaze caused the roof to collapse, damaging 80 per cent of the club while the rest of the building and contents were smoke damaged. The cause of the fire still remains a mystery.

The club was established in 1921 and is believed to be the oldest or second oldest in the country. The Barrowby branch of the RBL is the landlord of the club which is leased to the members and before the fire there were about 100 members.

Former club secretary Janice Hart said: “Why are they not telling the members anything. We are entitled to know what is going on.”

Another RBL member Keith Hitch said: “It isn’t just us. I think the whole village would like to know what is going on.”

RBL county secretary Brian Mahoney said any delay in getting the club up and running again was subject to the insurance companies who were involved following the fire. Mr Mahoney said: “It’s all in the hands of the insurance companies, but it is our intention to restart the club.”

A spokesman for the national organisation said: “With regard to the Barrowby Club, the claim with the Club’s insurers has taken longer than anticipated to conclude and the process is still on-going.”

Meanwhile the former treasurer of the club Ben Loomes is due to make another appearance in court on Monday (December 10). Loomes, 29, of Mill Farm Cottages, Sewstern Lane in Sedgebrook is accused of fraud by abuse of position. He denies dishonestly abusing his position of treasurer at the Royal British Legion in Low Road, Barrowby, between January 31 and November 1 this year. He was released on unconditional bail.