Farnworth and District Veterans Club will close this weekend — after 100 years in existence.

It has been revealed that the club in Brackley Street was sold to property developer Paul Riley last year for £75,000 as part of a rescue package to keep it open.

But a fall in revenue and the cost of overheads means it has now reached the end of the line.

Two meetings were held, one of which took place last Sunday, attracting between 100 and 200 members.

At Sunday’s meeting a vote was cast, in which the majority of the club’s members voted for its closure.

Francis Wood, aged 72, the club’s secretary and one of the committee members, was one of those who attended.

Mr Wood, who has served as secretary for 10 years and was chairman for 30 years, said he fully sympathies with those who were unhappy to see it go.

He added: “It’s a very sad day for us all. Some people are in tears. I’ve been a member of this club for 60-odd years and it’s very disappointing.

“As committee members, we couldn’t do anything about it. Sales have gone down over the last 12 months and we have had to sell this place to keep going.

"I can understand if people are despondent, because I am too.”

In addition to buying the club, Mr Riley has offered a reduction in rent for the next five years for any future tenant.

Bill Collison, aged 67, has been involved with the club since childhood and is upset to see the end of an era.

Mr Collison also claimed he and other members were unhappy about the way the situation had been handled.

He added: “The mood in the camp is very dismal. As members, we feel as though we’ve been kept in the dark about it.

“They say there’s no money to keep the club going and that people aren’t going. But I’m there four or five times a week and there’s always people in there.”

Bill Raynor, aged 61, who has been a member of the club for 45 years, said: “This is disgraceful, absolutely terrible.

"I don’t know how they can justify selling the place for £70,000 — it was the centre point of Farnworth for many years.

“We don’t know what the future holds for us now.”

The club was set up during the First World War for ex-servicemen. Over the years, it has also been used for wedding receptions and funeral wakes.

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