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May Lodge to close

The May Lodge Club on Herne Bay seafront will close today (5th Jan) for the last time, the HB Gazette revealed. Owner Dick Eldridge says the building — the headquarters of the town’s Royal British Legion branch — will be handed back to its owners tonight.

The decision was made after the club’s accountant said it would struggle to survive. Mr Eldridge — who has run the club for 15 years and been a member since 1985 — described it as a “very very sad day”. He said:

“This place means a lot to me. We’ve tried absolutely everything we can to keep it going, but we can’t carry on any more. Things are tough in the trade and the cost of everything is increasing all the time. Christmas was a third down on last year and we only sold 109 tickets for New Year’s Eve. We can fit 250 in here and we’ve always had a waiting list, which shows how bad things have got. Fifteen years ago we had well over 1,000 members, but now we only have between 500 and 600. People can’t afford to come out as much as they used to so we’re fighting an uphill battle.”

The building was a Royal British Legion club from 1946 until 2002, when it became the May Lodge Club. Mr Eldridge says talks will be held about its future tomorrow (6th Jan) with building owners the May Lodge Property Trust. He said:

“They will decide what to do with the building. I’ve got ideas and they’ve got ideas, but we’ve got to look for the best way forward.”

He added a notice would be put up at the club informing members of the closure.

HB Gazette 5th Jan 2012

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