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Royal British Legion defends closing Enfield club in Holtwhites Hill
A Royal British Legion chief has defended the charity for closing an Enfield club this week.
One of the oldest Royal British Legion clubs in the country – the club in Holtwhites Hill in Chase Side, closed yesterday due to debts after 91 years in the borough.
The North West Region Membership Council Representative for the Royal British Legion, Bill Burn, said: “If the club goes into debt it is the responsibility of the club management committee and not the Royal British Legion.
“The Club Committee are aware that The Royal British Legion cannot spend charitable funds raised through the Poppy Appeal and other fund-raising events to subsidise or pay for club refurbishments or pay debts accrued by the club management committee.”
He said charity commissioners “would not allow” charitable funds collected for The Royal British Legion to be spent on refurbishment, subsidies or pay Club debts.
Members of the club in Holtwhites Hill accused the Royal British Legion of acting more like a business than a charity, and forgetting the people who fought for this country’s freedom.
Retired servicemen, including club president Derek Caton, told the Enfield Independent that they will no longer wear a poppy and will instead raise money for charity Help for Heroes.
However, Mr Burn said: “If a member of the committee decides not to wear a poppy this year in protest at the Royal British Legion not paying the debts of the Club that is that person’s prerogative and, likewise, if that person wishes instead to donate to Help for Heroes that is their choice but I am sure that he would not want charitable funds to be used to refurbish or pay the debts accrued by his Club.”
Five hundred serving and retired servicemen, as well as their families, were members of the club before it was forced to close.
The branch of the club will remain open in Holtwhites Hill to continue the legion’s aims and objectives and encourage fundraising, but club members will have to find an alternative venue to hold meetings and social events.
Club members claim the branch will stay open until the valuable site is sold to developers, although this remains unconfirmed.