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Tributes paid to founders of Fulham youth club on 70th anniversary

The Brunswick Club was set up British soldiers held in Oflag 79, near Brunsweig, during the Second World War

Guests look at some of the historical displays during the Brunswick Club anniversary

A club launched in Fulham by former prisoners of war has celebrated 70 years of striving to create a better future for young people.

The Brunswick Club, in Haldane Road, celebrated the anniversary with a special fundraising evening and by showing off a range of activities it puts on, from baking to Taekwondo.

Tributes were paid to the club’s founders, the British PoWs held in Oflag 79 near Brunsweig, northern Germany. Some 3,000 soldiers were held at the camp, most of them British, many of them prisoners from the early days of the Second World War.

The club’s founders were praised by Hammersmith & Fulham Council’s Armed Forces Champion, Cllr Alan De’ath, who said: “The Brunswick Club is one of many examples of the positive contributions veterans have made locally after their heroic service.”

Today, the room on the top floor of the Brunswick brims over with trophies won by club youngsters for their sporting prowess which sit side-by-side with historical artefacts which reflect the cruelty and hardship the club’s founders suffered at the hands of the Nazis.

Club manager Danny Volino said: “The Brunswick Club is still here. Sadly, its founders are not.

“But we have never forgotten our roots. The men who first opened the doors of the Brunswick in 1949 were heroes. And for the past 70 years we have tried to make them proud. All they wanted was to make this area of Fulham, which has seen its hard times as well, a better place.

“But while we remember the past, tonight is about the future. We want to ensure the club sees another generation of young people come through its doors, and a new generation of subscribers to help us continue our good work.”

And Brunswick Club trustee, Michael Dunning, said: “Our only wish as trustees is that the club remains open for at least another 70 years.”

The evening saw more than 100 guests flock to the club, raising several thousand pounds in donations and being treated to tours of the club by its young members.

Liz Royall, the daughter of the first leader of the Brunswick Club, travelled from Kings Lynn, Norfolk, to attend – and donated many of her late father’s documents from the club dating back to 1948.

Also in attendance was Chris Horner, the son of artist Gordon Horner, who travelled from East Sussex to present the club with a watercolour painting of a Hurricane fighter plane landing in North Africa that his father painted in 1942.

Two of Gordon’s paintings – Roll Call and Liberation – are already on display at the club and have been an important part of the Brunswick’s visual history.

Another daughter of one of the original founders, Audrey Cullen, made the journey from Newton Abbot, Devon, while several other relatives of the founders travelled from across the UK to visit the club for the first time.

To help Brusnwick Club or for more information go to www.thebrunswickclub.org.uk or call 020 7385 4856.

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