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Beccles social club responds to claims about its financial state

PUBLISHED: 06:30 12 March 2016

The Royal British Legion Social Club in Ravensmere, Beccles. 

PHOTO: Nick Butcher

The Royal British Legion Social Club in Ravensmere, Beccles. PHOTO: Nick Butcher

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A Beccles social club has today responded to claims made by residents and on social media about its financial state following months of speculation.

The Royal British Legion Social Club based in Ravensmere has denied rumours it is insolvent. At the same time, police are investigating whether or not there have been any “financial irregularities” in the past.

Over the last few months the club has been the topic of discussion online and in the town, but in December the committee denied that it was going to close for good through a letter in the Journal.

Hugh Taylor, who has been president of the RBL Social Club for two years, said: “The club is not insolvent.

“There is an investigation into whether or not something untoward has taken place, there have been concerns around financial irregularities and this is a matter for the police. However nothing is known for sure and nothing has been proven.

“If something untoward has happened, there will be consequences.”

A spokesman for Suffolk Police said inquiries into what might have happened are still ongoing.

In a statement, the force said police were “investigating allegations of possible financial irregularities” between the approximate dates of January 2011 and July 2015.

Mr Taylor said he was confident the current running of the club is ‘financially sound’.

The RBL Social Club is owned and run by the members for the benefit of both members and the people of the town.

It is not owned or run by the RBL, but runs under a licence which allows it to use the Legion name.

Mr Taylor said an AGM was called for February, at which the club’s accounts were due to be presented, but they were not drawn up in time. He said a special general meeting was then arranged for Monday, March 14, to discuss how to improve the club’s financial situation, but the club had given insufficient public notice before the meeting, so it has been cancelled.

Mr Taylor said: “What is clear is the accounts haven’t been presented to the club members.

“As president, I have been saying to the committee that we need to focus on getting the accounts presented to the membership.

“I’m told the accounts are very close to being presented and I am clear that the AGM needs to be held as soon as possible.”

Mr Taylor said the meeting would be held in the coming weeks.

But he urged the town to keep supporting the club to help secure its future.

“The committee are having to work hard to keep it solvent,” he said. “The chairman, secretary and myself are all confident that it can remain solvent.

“And there’s every prospect of it remaining solvent for the foreseeable future.

“These are difficult times yes, but I have every confidence in the committee - they are working hard to keep the club running.”

Social club secretary Brian Wilson said there had been cost-cutting to try and improve the club’s financial position, but added: “It does need people coming down to the club to keep it going.”

He said: “The more people that use it, the better. The money situation isn’t brilliant but we are solvent and we hope to carry on that way.”

Members and non-members are welcome at the club, which has a bar, large social room with bar and dancefloor and a private meeting room.

To speak to the club about bookings, call 01502 716173.

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