Members left shocked by club’s sudden closure

08:59 15 November 2012

Seaton Town Social Club now closed

Seaton Town Social Club now closed

Archant

Seaton Town Social Club calls time after 70 years - blaming changes in people’s drinking habits

The sudden closure of the long-established Seaton Town Social Club has left members shocked and saddened.

The decision to shut it came at short notice, with officials blaming the urgent need to avoid plunging into debt.

But some of the up to 300 members say they should have been given time to work on a rescue plan.

The first many of them knew of the club’s imminent demise was an announcement at a farewell function the night before – which was greeted with tears from many of those present.

A notice also went up in the window of its base at Winstons, in Harbour Road.

It read: “It is with regret the committee announce the club will close at the end of business on Sunday 4th November, 2012.

“An explanatory letter and a final financial statement will be sent to all members.

“The committee would like to thank out member for their support over the years.”

Some three to four part time jobs have been lost with the closure of the club, which has operated in the town for some 70 years.

This week president John Vanderwolfe said the committee had no choice but to pull the plug as quickly as it did.

He told The Herald: “The decision was made that we could not carry on because we were running out of money. By closing when we did we ensured we had enough to pay off everyone we owed but going on further would have put us into debt.”

Mr Vanderwolfe said the club had become a victim of the recession, cheap supermarket booze and the new stay at home culture.

He said its decline began some years ago when the Harbour Road holiday camp closed, seriously reducing its revenue from visitors and forcing it to sell its purpose-built HQ in Harbour Road.

He said their eventual move to the Winstons building , after a stay in the town centre, had been a gamble.

“But we decided to have a go and give it our best shot,” he said. “The committee worked very hard but the club did not get the support it needed. The whole licensing trade is in trouble and people’s social habits have changed.

“We used to put on entertainment and Saturdays were ok but the rest of the time there just weren’t enough people to pay the wages.

“Maybe we could have kept it going until Christmas but it was decided to end it now and at least walk away with all the bills paid.”

Linda Pritchard was amongst the members left stunned and upset by the sudden decision to close.

She said the club’s demise represented the loss of another piece of Seaton’s history.

She said: “For it to close so suddenly was a terrible shock to the members and staff. The announcement came from John Vanderwolfe on Saturday night and with so very little time for members to react to the situation. There were a number of tears shed as there was nothing members could do to save the club.

“It was only last week that a Christmas Day lunch was discussed and planned. Now Christmas has been ruined, and there is nowhere else to go in Seaton on a Saturday night for live music and club price drinks.

“It is a real shame the club could not have remained open over the Christmas and New Year period which would have given members time to resolve any problems and save the club from extinction.”

0 comments

Other News Stories

Yesterday, 14:08
Rolle College, Exmouth.  Photo by Simon Horn. Ref exe 9254-18-12SH To order your copy of this photograph visit www.exmouthjournal.co.uk and click on myphotos24

Community volunteers have sealed a deal to reopen part of the mothballed Rolle campus for the Exmouth Festival.

Read more
Yesterday, 09:00
A la Ronde Assistant House Steward James Weckmueller winds a Grandfather clock dating back to around 1820 which was made by David Whitelaw of Edinburgh. Every Sunday at noon during March visitors to the National Trust property can watch all the clocks in the house being wound and set. Ref exe 0537-12-15SH. Picture: Simon Horn

Visitors to A la Ronde this month have been watching the clocks at the National Trust house being wound and set.

Read more
Thu, 15:40
A rugby themed easter egg trail is taking place along the Exe Estuary

A special Easter egg hunt inspired by the Rugby World Cup 2015 kicks off along the Exe Estuary Trail on Saturday, March 28.

Read more
Thu, 11:45
Ocean Blue. Ref exe 1212-33-14SH. Picture: Simon Horn

Leisure East Devon (LED) has announced it has agreed a 25-year lease to manage the Ocean Blue complex on Exmouth seafront.

Read more
Thu, 09:13
Topsham Devon Air Ambulance Trust is open for business again after a recent shop refurbishment. Cutting the ribbon is Tom Robertson, Chrissie Peel, Nigel Hare, Martin Bell and Sarah Woolfenden. Ref ext 1296-13-15AW. Picture: Alex Walton

One of Topsham’s two Devon Air Ambulance shops held its grand re-opening on Saturday, March 21.

Read more
Wed, 15:11
Bus service cuts have been opposed by Budleigh Salterton Town Council.

Cuts to bus services in Budleigh Salterton could leave the town ‘cut off’ and affect its young people, representatives have warned.

Read more
Tue, 11:20
Exeter Crown Court.

An ambulance driver based in Exmouth has admitted driving on a forged licence. Eion Crowley, who was sacked from his job by managers, was given a two-year conditional discharge at Exeter Crown Court.

Read more
Tue, 09:32
Ref exe rolle college

Rolle College will almost certainly re-open in May, seven years after it was mothballed, and host the Exmouth Festival .

Read more
Tue, 09:09
Bassetts Farm primary school year four pupil Abbie Clarke arranged a fund raising cake sale event for Red Nose Day at school this week and is pictured with her classmate Poppy Rowsell who helped her out  Ref exe 9431-11-15SH. Picture: Simon Horn

A Brixington schoolgirl has raised £1,372.41 for the Red Nose Day appeal.

Read more
Mon, 14:51
Gun found in Littleham

An old sawn-off shotgun found in a garden in Littleham could have been used in a robbery, police said.

Read more

Local Weather

Overcast

Overcast

max temp: 13°C

min temp: 10°C

Most Read News

Advertise in the Paper
Submit a Story
Subscriptions Order
Competitions
Photo Orders
Family notices
iwitness24
Google Plus
Facebook
Twitter
Family Notices 24

Digital Edition

Image
Read the Exmouth Journal e-edition today E-edition



Exmouth's trusted business finder