SENIOR members of a Royal British Legion branch have spoken of their sadness after it was closed by charity chiefs.

The Farnworth and Kearsley branch was closed on the grounds not enough volunteers had come forward to fill committee posts.

But its long-serving former secretary says the move is a‘great shame’ and ‘not the right decision’.

Joyce Watt also disputes the branch of the war veterans charity was unable to form a committee.

Mrs Watt, who was secretary for for 10 years, added: “I’m saddened by it because I think a lot of people in Farnworth will now miss out because they knew they could come to me.

“I was always in the office on a Tuesday morning and they could come down and see me, but it’s all gone, everything was taken out of the town hall.”

Mrs Watt added: “It’s a big shame because they’re not going to be getting the help they need. They could come down for help, but now there’s no one to give it to them. Now they have to call a call centre.People can’t understand the reasons for it.”

Mrs Watt also believes some branches have been closed as the charity wants to run a more centralised operation

“We used to have trust funds but they just transferred that money down to London. They said we could get it back if we ever needed it but you have to go through the rigmarole of filling in forms.That is wrong, if the money has come from this area it should be used to help this area.”

And former branch president, Cllr Noel Spencer, also questioned the decision.

He said: “I think it’s a mistake because they make the Farnworth service special. We attracted a lot of local people joining in marches to the war memorial. It was really first class so I hope the people who have taken over will do a reasonable job.

“I’m really disappointed with the decision.Some of the volunteers did a wonderful job and collected really significant amount of money.”

A spokesman for the Royal British Legion said: “It is always sad to see a branch close but in the case of Farnworth and Kearsley there were simply not enough members to make it viable.

“The deadline for a new committee to come forward was last February. However, there will be no impact on the Legion’s welfare activities in the area, as all requests for assistance are processed via the contact centre, regardless of the existence of a local branch.

“The remaining members of Farnworth and Kearsley have been able to transfer their membership to other local branches.”

The contact centre is available on 0808 802 8080.