‘Hands off’ is the message ahead of tonight’s crucial public meeting at the Royal British Legion club in Norwich

The Royal British Legion Jubilee Hall in Aylsham Road, Norwich. From left: John Bidley, Angela Laing, Suzanne Etheridge.

The Royal British Legion Jubilee Hall in Aylsham Road, Norwich. From left: John Bidley, Angela Laing, Suzanne Etheridge. Photo: Bill Smith - Credit: Bill Smith - Archant

'Hands off our Royal British Legion Jubilee Hall' – that's the message from members of the Aylsham Road club, ahead of a make-or-break public meeting tonight.

Your Norwich Evening News is getting behind a campaign to save the Jubilee Hall from closure and stop the legion's headquarters being sold after bosses announced their controversial plan last month.

Officials at the legion's London HQ believe keeping the premises 'involves an unacceptable level of risk to charitable funds'. But campaigners say the club can be saved and speakers at tonight's meeting will set out their vision for its future.

Among them will be businessman Martin Wyatt, whose offer to sponsor the hall and guarantee it against loss was turned down by legion bosses in London.

Mr Wyatt has, however, kept up the pressure on legion management whom he met this week, and he hopes to make a deal with the club to save it from closure.


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Norwich North MP Chloe Smith has also been campaigning to save the hall and she has even managed to secure a debate on 'the work of the RBL in Norwich' at Westminster Hall in Parliament at 4pm next Wednesday.

She said: 'I'm raising this at the highest level because it's such an important issue, both locally and nationally ahead of the Poppy Appeal.'

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As reported, campaigners even wrote to the Queen - the legion's patron - in their fight to save the club and headquarters.

Campaigners claim that the club, which was built with local funds, and its excellent facilities are used extensively, both by RBL members and by local community groups.

And they point out that Jubilee Hall already has bookings for 500 events next year.

'It's a social lifeline that allows us to get out of the house and meet other people,' one campaigner said.

Fresh hope that the club may still be saved came ahead of the meeting last week when the legion's area manager for East Anglia and Essex, Kate Williams, revealed that all options were still open. And she added that she was positive that all parties could reach a suitable outcome.

She said yesterday: 'As previously reported we met Mr Wyatt on Monday. We now await the outcome of the public meeting before continuing discussion around the future of Jubilee Hall.'

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