A ROYAL British Legion branch wants to set the record straight about its future, with false rumours spreading that Tesco had bought its land.
Staff at the West Drayton branch, in Station Road, say there has been a massive decline in numbers attending since hoardings went up and construction began on a Tesco Express store next door.
The supermarket is redeveloping the neighbouring site of the former Fox and Pheasant pub, and Shelley Green, a committee member at the branch, says that some of its 450 members have jumped to the wrong conclusion – with dire consequences.
“We are constantly battling rumours that we are closing because of the Tesco next door,” she said.
“We want to keep ourselves in the community but we are finding that people are already going elsewhere.
“We bump into our members on the street and they think that Tesco has bought us out. That is definitely not the case.
“We want to keep ourselves in the community, and while we are going through a tough time, we are not going anywhere.”
The branch has been open to ex-servicemen since the 1940s and has been a vibrant social club and lifeline for much of that time.
It has raised thousands of pounds for the Poppy Appeal over the years and hosts regular entertainment, including music shows and bingo nights.
Members can also join darts and pool teams, dance classes and do other activities.
The branch is suffering financial hardship and it was only a last-minute donation that recently saved it from crisis, said Ms Green.
The legion is fighting for subsidised business rates on the property. It hopes more local businesses and the wider community, aware of the club’s plight, will step in and give donations towards modernising the club.
A jubilee family fun day and tea party has been arranged for June 5.
If you would like to become a member, collect a form from the branch or call 01895 420 789.
Follow the West Drayton RBL on Facebook at WestDrayton British Legion, or Twitter @WestDraytonRBL.
? The Tesco Express, in Station Road, West Drayton, has created 18 jobs and is due to open later this month, on a date to be confirmed.
The vacancies were advertised in shops nearby and 27 people living in the area applied for the roles.
It will be open seven days a week from 6am to 11pm and will have a free cash machine and parking outside.