Members left shocked by club’s sudden closure

PUBLISHED: 08:59 15 November 2012

Seaton Town Social Club now closed

Seaton Town Social Club now closed

Archant

Seaton Town Social Club calls time after 70 years - blaming changes in people’s drinking habits

The sudden closure of the long-established Seaton Town Social Club has left members shocked and saddened.

The decision to shut it came at short notice, with officials blaming the urgent need to avoid plunging into debt.

But some of the up to 300 members say they should have been given time to work on a rescue plan.

The first many of them knew of the club’s imminent demise was an announcement at a farewell function the night before – which was greeted with tears from many of those present.

A notice also went up in the window of its base at Winstons, in Harbour Road.

It read: “It is with regret the committee announce the club will close at the end of business on Sunday 4th November, 2012.

“An explanatory letter and a final financial statement will be sent to all members.

“The committee would like to thank out member for their support over the years.”

Some three to four part time jobs have been lost with the closure of the club, which has operated in the town for some 70 years.

This week president John Vanderwolfe said the committee had no choice but to pull the plug as quickly as it did.

He told The Herald: “The decision was made that we could not carry on because we were running out of money. By closing when we did we ensured we had enough to pay off everyone we owed but going on further would have put us into debt.”

Mr Vanderwolfe said the club had become a victim of the recession, cheap supermarket booze and the new stay at home culture.

He said its decline began some years ago when the Harbour Road holiday camp closed, seriously reducing its revenue from visitors and forcing it to sell its purpose-built HQ in Harbour Road.

He said their eventual move to the Winstons building , after a stay in the town centre, had been a gamble.

“But we decided to have a go and give it our best shot,” he said. “The committee worked very hard but the club did not get the support it needed. The whole licensing trade is in trouble and people’s social habits have changed.

“We used to put on entertainment and Saturdays were ok but the rest of the time there just weren’t enough people to pay the wages.

“Maybe we could have kept it going until Christmas but it was decided to end it now and at least walk away with all the bills paid.”

Linda Pritchard was amongst the members left stunned and upset by the sudden decision to close.

She said the club’s demise represented the loss of another piece of Seaton’s history.

She said: “For it to close so suddenly was a terrible shock to the members and staff. The announcement came from John Vanderwolfe on Saturday night and with so very little time for members to react to the situation. There were a number of tears shed as there was nothing members could do to save the club.

“It was only last week that a Christmas Day lunch was discussed and planned. Now Christmas has been ruined, and there is nowhere else to go in Seaton on a Saturday night for live music and club price drinks.

“It is a real shame the club could not have remained open over the Christmas and New Year period which would have given members time to resolve any problems and save the club from extinction.”

Other News Stories

The company has dismissed rumours that it is eyeing a unit in Lace Walk.

Read more
15:02

Residents can apply for one from Monday, October 23

Read more
16:45

Anyone needing to use the M5 to get home may want to take an alternative route.

Read more

The development cost £2.1million to complete and has created 18 jobs locally.

Read more
07:02

“Close co-operation between both teams is essential in promoting our overall goal of saving lives at sea,” says RNLI chief

Read more

Residents of Dunkeswell are being given the opportunity to have their say in shaping the village’s future this week.

Read more
11:58

Exmouth Carnival 2017 – held on Saturday, October 14 – drew big crowds to the town’s streets and raised more than £2,300 for good causes.

Read more

The Met Office has issued a yellow weather warning for wind in East Devon on Saturday (October 21), warning of 50 miles-per-hour winds and possible flooding.

Read more
Yesterday, 16:56

Old £1 coins are no longer being accepted in East Devon District Council’s (EDDC) car parks.

Read more

Local Weather

Overcast

Overcast

max temp: 12°C

min temp: 9°C

Most Read News

Useful Links

Family notices
Advertise in the paper
Submit a Story
Submit a Story
Buy Photos
Competitions
iwitness24
Facebook
Twitter
Google Plus Page
Reader Travel

Family Notices 24

Read Online

Image
Read the Midweek Herald e-edition E-edition

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Local business directory

Honiton's trusted business finder

HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists


Find planning applications