British Legion Club bar manager to lose job and home

Anne Lapping. 'Bar Manager at the British Legion Club to lose her Job and Home.'NBFP PA1340-9
Anne Lapping. 'Bar Manager at the British Legion Club to lose her Job and Home.'NBFP PA1340-9

After eight-years living at the Royal British Legion (RBL) Club bar manager Ann Lapping will lose her home and job as the club is to close.

Last week it was announced the club, in Hilderthorpe Road, is £36,000 in debt and members of the RBL’s Bridlington branch voted for it to shut.

Ms Lapping, 53, who began work at the club in 1990, said: “I felt gutted and upset. The club has been my life for 13-years. It is like when you know somebody is dying and when they do die it still hits you.

“It is scary to think I need to start looking for another job.”

She plans to move in with her 21-year-old son Jordan in Scarborough, but will stay at the club until it closes.

The club started as the RBL’s Bridlington Branch in 1921 when it was open for service personnel and veterans only, however in 1986 it became affiliated with the Working Men’s Club and Institute Union and was opened to all members of the public.

Ms Lapping said when she first began work there 13 years ago people used to queue round the corner to get in, and there were 12 members of staff.

At present around 50 people use the club on Mondays for bingo night and live entertainment evenings on Saturdays.

After moving to Bridlington in 1996 Ms Lapping used to visit the club with her dad, who had worked for many years in the bar stewarding trade, and was approached by management to join the team.

She said: “The impact is going to be on the people who come in to play bingo and regular customers of an older age who feel protected and secure because it is not in the centre of town. People have said to me they just don’t know what they are going to do.

“One of our major problems is that people think they can’t go in because it is for ex-service people only. That is one of the battles we have had.”

However she acknowledges the problem is nationwide, with many Legion Clubs suffering dwindling membership.

“It is the general trade and the economic climate, the clubs and pubs are just suffering so much,” said Ms Lapping.

Karen Kettlewell, who has worked alongside Ms Lapping to keep the club going, said: “We both filled up when we found out. We have lost a lot of trade from the coaches dropping visitors off in the town centre.”

David Standaloft, chair of the Bridlington branch of the RBL, offered hope for the future of the club, and said: “It is a shame the staff there have worked so hard to try and keep the club open. Maybe from the ashes a phoenix will arise, in another couple of months we might be able to tell.”

A regional spokesperson for the Royal British Legion said: “ This is sad news and reflects the trading difficulties which the licenced trade has been experiencing for some years. The Royal British Legion Branch will continue in its work to support the ex-service and serving community in Bridlington and the surrounding district.”