MEMBERS of a Royal British Legion (RBL) club are up in arms about plans which could see it close.

The charity plans to close New Legion Club in Green Lane, Chislehurst, along with eight others across the country as they are not making enough money.

Branch secretary Alan Stevens, of Sherborn Road, Petts Wood, has started a petition to fight the plans for the club, which has around 700 members.

The 73-year-old said: “They will rip the heart out of the community.

“From what is considered a compassionate organisation there is no compassion.”

Former soldier Bill Kershaw, of Court Road, Orpington, also wants the club to stay open.

The 86-year-old said: “It is a second home and a place to meet friends and socialise.”

Mr Kershaw joined the East Kent Regiment in 1940. He served in North Africa, France, Greece, Italy and Palestine.

Speaking about the club, the former washing machine salesman added: “When all this goes and people come back from the war they will have nowhere to go.”

Olive Cooper, of Imperial Way, Chislehurst, is a member of the women’s section and has been going to the club for more than 50 years.

The 74-year-old said: “We are very hurt and all upset about it.

“It has been our life and if it closes we won’t know what to do with ourselves.”

The RBL is considering closing the club despite the fact it was refurbished last April at a cost of £270,000.

A meeting was held last week to talk to committee members about the plans.

An RBL representative encouraged the members to put together a business plan which would allow them to rent the building off the charity, allowing the club to stay open.

However, this would cost around £20,000 a year.

Members have up until August 12 to submit a business plan but if they fail to do so it is likely the building will be sold.

An RBL spokesman said: “We know members will be upset about the closures and we are doing everything we can to support them through this unfortunate and difficult time."

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