A DEVASTATING burglary left it on the brink of closure.
But now the Royal British Legion Club in Bitterne, Southampton, is back on its feet just months after a “vendetta” by vandals, which saw it targeted five times in just two weeks.
And now it is set to host a day of events to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the start of the First World War.
As reported by the Daily Echo, £8,000 was stolen from the club’s coffers along with a 46in television, while slot machines, pool and snooker tables and a window were smashed to bits.
Following a £22,000 insurance pay-out, repairs have been carried out and a new, upgraded security system put in place. The money has also helped the committee to replace its pool tables and improve its snooker room.
Club chairman Pete Everson said: “We have brought in more cameras, reinforced the doors, got solid locks and an alarm system that goes off even if you simply touch a window.
“If this money hadn’t come through I don’t think we could have survived. No money will be left in the premises in future, and we have about 16 CCTV cameras here now so we feel a lot safer.
“We just hope we have put this all behind us now.”
One man was arrested in connection with the incident but was released with no further action taken.
A Hampshire police spokesman said that officers would welcome any fresh evidence.
The club, in Windover Close, off Upper Deacon Road, Southampton, is now looking forward to hosting an all-day event on Saturday to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the outbreak of the First World War.
Mr Everson said: “We are having a little ceremony and a barbecue in the afternoon, and then in the evening we will have entertainment from the Blue Stockings, who will perform wartime songs like Vera Lynn. It’s our tribute to those who fought.”
The club is also looking to increase its membership, which currently stands at about 500 – with membership open to all, particularly younger members.
Anyone interested is invited to pop in.