A CLUB once facing permanent closure is just weeks away from re-opening – and members are counting down the days.
The Iona Club in Gosport shut when the Diocese of Portsmouth found its building to be structurally unsafe.
That club means everything to usRita Cotton
A petition was launched to save the hall with more than 1,000 people signing it.
And now, after constructive talks between volunteers at the club and the parish church, which owns the site through the Diocese, the club will bounce back.
Work is being carried out to get a bar installed and damage caused by vandals has been fixed.
Members Rita and Tony Cotton have been a part of the club in Fisher Road, Bridgemary, for eight years.
Rita said: ‘That club means everything to us.
‘It’s within walking distance and the atmosphere is brilliant.
‘When you walk into the place it doesn’t matter if there’s a few people or lots of people, it’s very friendly.
‘It means so much to so many people.’
As previously reported in The News, the club has been rebranded as the Iona Families Club and was given permission to re-open after talks with new parish priest Father Serafino Lanzetta.
Last month, it was decided the club would share the hall with the church after Fr Serafino expressed his interests in using it.
‘And members say they are happy an agreement has been made.
Jean Coe, who has been part of the club since 1975, said: ‘I have some lovely memories of celebrations in the club including my silver and golden anniversaries.
‘It means so much to a lot of people so I am happy to see it opening soon.’
Secretary of the club Steve Wilkins added: ‘Although we don’t have an exact date, it is very exciting that the club will be opening soon.’