Veterans hope to save Harrogate RAF Association

Derek Walker (on right) with Linda Dale, Brian Wilkie and Eddie Edwards. Picture by Adrian Murray (1403113AM2).
Derek Walker (on right) with Linda Dale, Brian Wilkie and Eddie Edwards. Picture by Adrian Murray (1403113AM2).

Harrogate’s closure-threatened RAF Association could be saved by a team of gamers.

The 100-strong association, which counts war heroes living in Australia and Spain among its membership, owns its Turret House premises on East Parade.

A meeting was held to discuss closure last week, but members are hopeful that gamers spending money at the building, combined with support from the association’s regional office, could lead to the group remaining afloat.

The gamers, who use a floor of the building each week to play simulation war games have been told it is in their interests to use the bar and help keep the group running.

Discussions are now underway to extend the group’s use of the building, while more support is expected from the Association’s regional office.

Squadron Leader Derek Walker (retired) is vice chairman of the association, and served during the Suez Crisis.

He said: “We have three months to solve the problem.

“The finances are such that if we continue like this, in three years we will be broke.

“Our membership is strong, but some live abroad, and it is about getting people in to spend money.

“The average age of the members is 76, and with no younger members taking it on, we would have no choice but to close.

“It is in the gamers’ interests to become association members, and we are encouraging as many groups as we can to get involved and help however they can.”

One of the association’s earliest members travelled to the meeting from Laurencekirk in northern Scotland, having read about the group’s plight in the ‘Advertiser.

Harrogate-born Geoffrey Goodyear, who served in Africa during the Second World War and joined the association after the conflict, said: “I was alarmed when I saw the write-up in the Advertiser, but I left the meeting more assured.

“I am sure the gamers are going to show their support and save the association.”