“When it’s gone it’s gone.”
The chairman of one of Blackpool’s most historic clubs today warned time is running out in the battle to keep it open.
The plight of the resort’s Comrades of the Great War Club was highlighted in The Gazette last week as Tim Pipe called for someone to come forward and save the building from closure.
The Adelaide Street club has already been placed into administration by the committee, who are fighting to remain in control of it, after it was found to be haemorrhaging cash when Mr Pipe took on the position in 2011.
He has now enlisted the help of Gordon Marsden, MP for Blackpool South, as the club searches for a buyer willing to save the club.
Mr Pipe said: “We need to at least secure the building so it doesn’t get into the hands of developers or creditors because when it’s gone it’s gone.
“It’s another part of Blackpool’s history gone and it won’t be resurrected.
“I’ve spent the last two years trying to chase people and a lot of people have said the minute I walk away from the place it will shut, but The Gazette’s story has put us in the public eye and I’m pressing Gordon Marsden and councillors to get us out of trouble.
“The club is open day by day at the moment but the longer we stay open the better it is for our future.”
The committee formed in 2011 and puts the club’s problems down to an ageing and dwindling membership and the smoking ban.
They have looked at a number of options to save it, including taking out a loan, but this failed because of the club’s inability to make a profit.
In 1996 and 1997, the club took more than £200,000 at the bar, however, over the last seven years the takings have averaged only £120,000 a year.
Mr Pipe has met with Gordon Marsden at length in recent months and he says both he and the MP are committed to saving the building.
The Blackpool South MP said: “The club has a fantastic history as the site of Blackpool Grammar School as well as its current use.
“I feel very strongly that it’s a key building in the area and central to the improvements that are taking place in the town centre.
“We have to have some optimism about the process because in recent months another important venue, the Blue Room (a bar on Church Street), was brought back into use, which I was pleased to play a part in.
“I hope we can explore future possibilities with the Comrades club, but we are at a very early stage.
“The future of it will depend on finding a viable new use and someone who is sympathetic to the club.”
n If anyone is willing to help the club, contact Tim Pipe on 07967728469.