Drink drive law spells end of Bonnyrigg Ex-Servicemen’s Club

Bonnyrigg Ex-Servicemen's Club at 4 Waverley Terrace
Bonnyrigg Ex-Servicemen's Club at 4 Waverley Terrace

With an insurmountable tax bill and depleting committee, a struggling club for ex-servicemen is set to close its doors for the last time.

The fate of Bonnyrigg and District Ex-Servicemen’s Club was sealed at a recent special meeting when none of its members proved willing to take on the roles of secretary or treasurer.

It is also claimed that the Inland Revenue is owed around £11,000.

Club chairman Tom Melrose refused to comment when contacted by the Advertiser this week.

Bonnyrigg resident Gib Scott, a member for more than 40 years, said: “The coal mines closing was the beginning of the downfall and the smoking ban didn’t help either.

“Plus the club has fallen in debt to the Inland Revenue.

“A lot of people used to come in for a pint and play dominoes or cards and then drive home but when the new drink driving law was introduced they were too scared to do that.

“It’s just the end of an era. They were pretty much down to just one or two committee members.

“No-one wanted to help run then club.

“They had a special meeting but no-one stepped forward.”

Situated at Waverley Terrace, the club was founded as a limited company in 1983 but was formed formed by soldiers returning home after the First World War.

Its initial base was a wooden hut built on the current site by ex-servicemen from the Bonnyrigg area.

The dire state of the company’s finances was laid bare by local resident Ross Macbean at a meeting of Bonnyrigg and District Community Council last Thursday.

He said: “It is going into voluntary receivership and will shut on the 31st. It has gone bust. The bar steward is retiring at the end of the month and at their last meeting they did not have a sufficient committee to legally keep it running. There were 70 people there and not one person put their hand up, and so the two or three people left have decided that they can no longer run it.

“I’m getting this second hand but it’s good stuff because I’m close friends with the club stewards. They didn’t have a secretary or treasurer – just a couple of guys running it. The club was just about making ends meet but they have an £11,000 tax bill that they are not managing to eat into at all. The final straw is that they do not have a committee and cannot keep the club running.

“It’s a real shame.”