TIME has been called on a Labour club which has existed in Bolton for more than 90 years.

Derby Ward Labour Club in Deane Road has ceased trading, with former club bosses blaming changing drinking habits and the recession for its demise.

Accountants CLB Coopers, based in Manchester, have been appointed as liquidators and four staff have lost their jobs.

The club had existed since 1921 and had between 350 and 400 members, but its Deane Road premises has already been sold by the brewery — one of the club’s major creditors.

Diane Hill, business restructuring and insolvency partner at CLB Coopers, said: “I will be writing individually to all of the members, and anyone who is owed money by the club, to explain what happens next and how the club’s affairs will be wound up.

“The club is unable to pay its debts, it is insolvent and as there is no appropriate rescue procedure available it will now go through a formal liquidation process.”

Club secretary Vera Bragg has been associated with the club for seven years.

She said: “There’ll be a meeting of members and creditors on February 1. It made me quite ill because I took it personally. I did my best, I kept it going for six months.

“It was just one of those things, but I saw membership and trading going down. It was just one great pity.”

Mrs Bragg also said the smoking ban had impacted trade, along with cheap alcohol in supermarkets.

She added: “There’s so much cheap booze now available in supermarkets, there are a lot of shops near the club where you can buy alcohol cheaper than we could buy it.”

Labour’s Bolton South East MP Yasmin Qureshi said: “Derby Ward Labour Club has had a long and proud association with the Labour Party in Bolton and it is very sad to see it finally close after struggling financially for some time.

“I’m committed, along with friends and colleagues in the Labour Party, to supporting Farnworth and Kearsley Labour Club — the last one left in my constituency.”