Doors to close on Legion’s Social Club

The Legion will close next Saturday.
The Legion will close next Saturday.

The Royal British Legion Lewis Branch is preparing to close its Stornoway club as running costs and lack of custom spell the end of the venue.

The club is expected to close after last orders on Saturday March 15th.

The building, which includes four function areas and three bars, is on South Beach Street in the centre of Stornoway and has been home to the Lewis Branch since the 1980s.

But declining trade and mounting debts has led to the decision to call time on the premises.

“We have come to the situation where the place is not viable,” explained Secretary and Treasurer Donald Maciver. “The Royal British Legion Lewis Branch will continue to exist, we just won’t have this premises.

“At the moment we’re losing money every week.”

The building has been on the market for several weeks now, but as yet no firm offers are on the table. However by closing, explained Chairman Kevin O’hara, there is the possibility setting up elsewhere in the future. If they stayed open, he explained, the club could be closed to regain debts, with the sale of the building out of their hands.

Membership of the club, which once stood at 1,600, has fallen to around 300.

However Chairman O’hara, stressed the importance of what the venue offers.

He said it was “terrible” that in the year of the centenary of the start of World War One the Branch’s club is to close.

He continued: “There is so much more to the Legion. It is somewhere like this is where you will have veterans sitting down and speaking to someone else who has experienced what they have experienced.

“ Where there is somebody who understands and who has undergone the same things.”

Mr Maciver said: “Nobody wants to see it close, but the reality is if we don’t close it someone else will.

“Things have changed completely, the whole culture has changed. People are not spending the same money in bars.”