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Closure looms for club

PUBLISHED: 16:21 03 September 2008 | UPDATED: 11:22 12 August 2010

A SOCIAL club which has served the community for 137 years is threatened with closure because of falling membership and high rent.

A SOCIAL club which has served the community for 137 years is threatened with closure because of falling membership and high rent.

Members of Beckenham Constitutional Club, in High Street, Beckenham, are due to have an emergency meeting tomorrow to decide whether to hand the institution over to liquidators.

Steward Lance Balzaretti is desperate to save the club and is appealing to new members to join to secure its future.

He said: "Some of our members have been coming for 30 or so years and they won't have anywhere to go if it closes. They won't know what to do.

"A lot of them are elderly and live all over Beckenham. They just won't meet any more if it closes.

"Some of them are in denial and don't think it will shut. They don't know how serious the problem is.

"But the club isn't just for elderly people, we welcome any age. There is a snooker room where people can play for a fee of about 20p. We have space for small functions as well.

"It's like a family here. You don't get that with a pub. The High Street can be a bit rowdy for people who just want to go out for a quiet drink.

"What we offer is unique. We offer friendship. You could sit on your own for hours in a pub but if you come here, within minutes you will be talking to people. Everybody gets chatting over a drink."

Mr Balzaretti said the club's location is part of the membership problem. He added: "People just don't know we're here. We're hidden up a flight of stairs. The smoking ban and the way things are with the economy haven't helped either."

Mr Balzaretti will not only lose his job at the club if it closes, but also his home as he lives with his wife in a flat above it. He said: " We just really need people to sign up and make sure we keep it here for years to come."

For more information, contact the club on 020 8325 5485.

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