A BRANCH of the Royal British Legion is battling back from the brink.
The Washington branch was under threat with bosses coming close to admitting defeat two months ago, after member numbers plummeted from 450 to just 22.
Crisis talks were held with only five attending the discussion about its future.
They were polled on whether or not to admit defeat or stand their ground and look to the future.
Secretary Malcolm Pickering, 56, said: “We had talked about calling it a day. Thankfully we decided to fight on.
“Nobody had been willing or able to make a stand and halt the decline. People didn’t want to take it on.
“But we decided that we wanted to continue and stand shoulder to shoulder with all who serve.
“We could have gone under, but we are now fighting back.”
The branch was formed in the 1920s and in the 1960s moved location to premises in Tyne Gardens, Concord, which it still owns but vacated five years ago.
In the past month, membership has seen an increase with figures rising to 35, 80 per cent of whom are ex-servicemen and only another 15 are needed to put the club back on sound financial footing.
Malcolm, a retired chief petty officer with the Royal Fleet Auxillary, said: “I’m quietly confident that we will survive.
“We have it all up and running again and the outlook is brighter.
“It’s important the people of Washington know we’re here.
“Anyone who thinks much of our armed services can support them by supporting us.”
Malcolm added: “These days veterans can be aged just 18. People of that age are fighting for this country. The club is open to everyone, not just military people.”
For more information contact Malcolm on 419 3819 or 07710 935 261, or recruitment chief Richard Bell on 417 2187.