A SOCIAL club inside the RAF Association’s Swindon branch base has closed because a new committee to manage it could not be found.

At the latest membership meeting, no-one came forward to form a new committee after the old one disbanded, so they voted to close part of the Belle Vue Road premises which had been used as a licensed non-profit bar where members met for a chat and a pint.

The rest of the Old Town site will remain open for activities organised by the Swindon RAFA, which provides welfare support to ex-serving Royal Air Force personnel and promotes events and fundraising.

A spokesman said: "After many years’ commitment to the club, particularly from the chair who worked tirelessly to create a welcoming and vibrant place for the local RAF community to gather, the committee was looking for new blood to continue the good work.

"As no new committee members came forward, the difficult decision was made to close the club.

"The Swindon branch of the association is still going strong and will continue to support members of the RAF community in the area, as it has done for many years."

The club had been in existence for 70 years. The branch formed in 1946 and purchased the Belle Vue Road premises which the club occupied in two phases, first buying number 41 in 1951 followed by purchasing number 42 next door in 1968.

The branch will continue its activities in the building, including regular meetings and social events for its members, though alcohol will no longer be allowed to be sold or consumed on-site now that the club has closed.

The branch’s welfare services include the Connections for Life telephone friendship, Finding it Tough mental wellbeing training, Navigating Dementia information hub, and complex welfare casework.

As with many other charitable organisations, the pandemic caused a lot of disruption to the usual schedule of generating donations for the Wings Appeal and forced the social club to close for many months, with branch meetings held online instead, though it reopened after restrictions eased last summer.

The branch describes its mission as: “Supporting the RAF family is exactly what we are there for, and with the needs of our serving personnel, veterans and families increasing in volume and complexity we are busier than ever."

Anyone wishing to join the branch should visit www.rafa.org.uk/join or call 0800 018 2361.