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Burley Working Men’s Club Wathen-Bartlett to reopen Friday 8th December

Burley Working Men’s Club is reopening thanks to the “wonderful” reaction of the community.

Known as the Wathen-Bartlett, the village-centre club opened over 100 years ago, but in October it announced it was to shut with immediate effect, citing a £9,000 utility debt among the reasons.

EDF Energy had tripled the club’s monthly bills and that, along with a shortage of volunteers to run it and a wash-out summer, had sounded the death knell for what was once an integral part if the village.

Burley Working Men's Club reopens tomorrow
Burley Working Men's Club reopens tomorrow

But now just two months later, and thanks to a raft of volunteers coming forward, it is to throw open its doors once again.

Club trustee Philip Buckley revealed: “It’s all systems go. After we shut, we had a wonderful response from the community with 16 people signing up as volunteers to staff the club.

“We have also rescheduled our debts and gone on to pay-as-you-go with our energy company.

“It has meant that we are able to open in time for the festive season, which is brilliant.”

Wathen-Bartlett in Burley
Wathen-Bartlett in Burley

The club will be opening tomorrow (Saturday) and hopes to open at weekends going forward.

Mr Buckley said: “We plan to open Friday, Saturday and Sundays. It will only be one room at the moment. We are also offering the use of the club for hire out to the local community.

“The local WI is going to use it, and we would invite any groups, charities or similar organisations to consider holding their meetings at the club.”

The club will be also putting up its fees, but members will receive a discount on drinks including Carlsberg which will be just £3.75 a pint.

Mr Buckley said, “all are welcome” for the opening night, adding: “We have the Christmas decorations up and we are looking forward to having the club open again.”

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